What is the CICA?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a Government scheme offering compensation to blameless victims of violent crime. The Scheme specifically provides compensation to victims of sexual assault and abuse.
Awards of up to £500,000 can be made.
A claim for compensation under the CICA Scheme is worth considering where there is a doubt that a claim in the civil courts will succeed because the defendant has no assets or insurance.
The crime must have been reported to the police. However it is not necessary for the perpetrator to have been convicted in the criminal courts. CICA claims can be made where the offender has never been apprehended or where there is insufficient evidence to convict them.
CICA time limits
Important time limits apply to CICA claims.
Generally, criminal injuries compensation claims must be submitted within 2 years of the date on which the crime took place, unless the victim was under 18 at the time; in which case they have until their 20th birthday to bring a claim.
However, late applications by victims of sexual assault and sexual or physical abuse will be considered. This is because the CICA recognise that victims are often unable to speak about the abuse for many years and cases of historic abuse are emerging all the time.
If the assault or abuse was not reported to the Police at the time it took place, the victim has two years from the date on which it was reported to the Police to submit an application for compensation.
In exceptional circumstances, the CICA may extend the time limit to allow a claim to be brought at an even later date. Exceptional circumstances might include a victim’s lack of capacity due to significant mental health problems. Evidence must be submitted to the CICA to allow them to assess the reasons for the delay without making extensive further enquiries. Our specialist team have successfully persuaded the CICA to extend the time limit in many cases so that compensation can be recovered.
It is always preferable to avoid problems with time limits by seeking early legal advice and minimising any delay.
How long does a CICA claim take?
There are no specific timescales, but the CICA generally make a decision within 12 months. In complex or higher value cases, it can take longer. The CICA may contact the Police for further information regarding the abuse to help them reach their decision. This often happens when the perpetrator of the abuse has not been convicted.
CICA compensation for injuries
The amount of compensation is based on the severity of the injury suffered and the pattern of abuse. Depending upon the nature of the abuse, it may be necessary to obtain medical evidence to ensure you receive the right level of compensation. For example, you may be entitled to a higher award if you have suffered a disabling mental injury as a result of the abuse.
CICA compensation for loss of earnings
If you are unable to work for more than 28 weeks as a result of the injury, you are entitled to claim loss of earnings under the Scheme. An award for loss of earnings will be made on a weekly basis at the current rate of Statutory Sick Pay.
How long does it take to receive criminal injuries compensation?
Once a decision has been reached and you have accepted it then payment is normally made within 28 days. In more complex cases where the CICA accepts you are eligible for compensation, but a final award cannot be made until a medical issue has been clarified, it is possible to obtain an advance sum. This is known as an interim payment. The amount of the interim payment is then deducted from the final compensation award.
Consult the CICA experts
The Criminal injuries compensation scheme is complicated and particularly difficult issues can arise with claims for sexual assault and abuse.
Although you can pursue a claim yourself, it frequently pays to consult solicitors who specialise in this area of law and who have experience of recovering maximum compensation for victims of sexual assault and abuse.
What does it cost?
We work on a No Win – No Fee basis. So if you do not receive an award of compensation you will not have to pay a penny. If your application is successful our charge is 25% of the sum recovered.
Visit www.cicacriminalinjurysolicitors.co.uk for more information about Criminal Injury Compensation.
For a free, confidential assessment of your CICA compensation claim speak to a member of our specialist team on FREEPHONE 0808 139 1597. Alternatively you can drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org