The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a British government body which provides compensation for victims of violent crime. Individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for CICA compensation, including that the compensation sought is over £1000, and that the harm was caused by a crime committed somewhere in England, Wales, or Scotland.
Rules for Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases have changed somewhat since the agency was established in the 1960s, so persons who hope to receive compensation should familiarize themselves with the current rules. CICA has a complicated framework for determining whether individuals qualify for any sort of compensation and, if they do, how much.
First, CICA rules limit eligibility to the victims of violent crime in England, Scotland, and Wales and do not consider cases where compensation would be less than £1000. Victims must be deemed blameless, meaning they were not committing a crime themselves at the time they were injured. In addition, they must demonstrate that the injury was the result of a violent crime. If the incident in which they were injured is not covered by criminal law, then CICA will not provide compensation.
Victims must submit their claims within two years of the offence, or provide evidence that they would have filed by the time limit but were prevented from doing so. For instance, CICA may disregard the time limit in cases of domestic abuse or the abuse of children. They do not have to wait for the offender who harmed them to be charged with or convicted of the offence, provided that the incident was reported to the police promptly after it occurred. A person can only apply for compensation for the same incident once. CICA will not compensate British citizens for injuries they receive while travelling in a foreign country, but it may help them apply for compensation to the appropriate government body in that country.
Once CICA officials have determined that a complaint may be eligible for compensation, they review the circumstances of the incident to determine what sort of compensation might be provided. CICA warns that it can “refuse or reduce an award” to anybody who has a criminal record of their own, refused to cooperate with police investigators, unreasonably delayed reporting the incident to police, or otherwise behaved inappropriately “before, during or after the incident in which you were injured.”
Finally, if CICA determines that a case qualifies for compensation, it will review several different forms of compensation which might apply. CICA provides criminal injury compensation in five broad categories. The basic qualification is simply a standard payment for injuries suffered, known as a “tariff payment.” If the victim of the crime died, a special payment of up to £11,000 may be given to their spouse or children. Individuals can also qualify for loss-of-earnings compensation, and special expense coverage for the costs of medical treatment and home care necessitated by their injuries. Finally, victims of sexual offences are eligible for a separate award.
Those who feel they may qualify for a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority case may want to seek legal advice tailored to their specific situation. Alternatively, CICA has published a detailed guide to its rules, which is current as of June 2013.