In 1964, the Government created an organisation known as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Although its name changed in 1996 to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), the purpose behind the organisation has remained the same since the sixties – to provide financial compensation to the victims of criminal injuries.
In broad terms, to apply for compensation from the CICA, a person must have been physically or psychologically injured as a result of a violent crime within two years of making an application. A person may also be eligible for compensation if they suffered such injuries during the course of trying to prevent a crime from taking place. Strangely, it is not absolutely essential for anyone to have been prosecuted or even arrested for the crime in question, although the applicant must have reported the crime to the Police immediately (or have a very good reason for not having done so) and must successfully establish that the crime did indeed take place.
Compensation cannot be paid by the CICA if the injuries suffered by the applicant did not last for six weeks or more, if the crime took place outside England, Wales or Scotland, or if the applicant suffered their injuries as a result of a road traffic accident (unless a vehicle was deliberately used to cause the injuries). An application to the CICA may also be adversely affected if the applicant fails to co-operate with the Police (for example, with regard to attending Court or providing a statement), if the applicant has a criminal conviction of their own, if the applicant provoked the crime in question or if the crime was reported late and without good reason.
The CICA handles approximately 80,000 cases a year and it can often take up to a year for the application to be processed and, if successful, an applicant can expect to receive an award of between £1,000 and £250,000, depending upon the severity of the injuries received and also the factors referred to above. In total, the CICA pays out around £200 million in compensation per year.
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