The CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) is a government body that deals in awarding compensation to victims of crime who have been physically and/or psychologically injured in some way.
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The government introduced a new version of the CICA scheme on 27th November 2012. This means any applications made on or after this date will now be dealt with under the guidelines of the new scheme.
These changes to the scheme have meant that certain injuries are no longer classed as being serious enough to warrant a claim through the CICA. If your injuries are not serious enough under the new CICA scheme, you may be eligible to claim some financial support through the government’s Hardship Fund. The government have introduced the Hardship Fund to help individuals with temporary financial hardship as a result of injuries caused by a violent crime.
Examples of physical injuries no longer included in the scheme include bruising, black eyes, minor scarring, broken noses, broken/ loose teeth, broken ribs etc.
Some injuries are still available for an award under the scheme however in some cases must be shown to have caused a “continuing significant disability”. This includes injuries such as fractured fingers, a broken hand, ligament damage, dislocated shoulder/ knee, fractured toes (except the great toe) etc.
Awards for psychological injuries can still be considered however treatment from a GP alone is no longer sufficient for a claim. Under the new scheme there must now be a psychiatric diagnosis of a psychological condition for an award to be considered.
Awards for incidents involving sexual assault or abuse have not been altered under the changes to the new CICA scheme.
As with awards for sexual assault or abuse, no changes have been made to the levels of award available in circumstances where there is a fatal injury. See our criminal injury compensation calculator for a guide to what you could claim.
An award for Loss of Earnings will only be considered if you are unable to work as a direct result of your injuries for a minimum of 28 weeks or more.
In addition you must have:
The general two year time limit to make an application from the date of an incident still applies under the new scheme.
In some cases (e.g. involving historical abuse) where a matter has been reported some time later by an individual as an adult, the CICA can consider waiving the time limit. Often the two year time limit would then apply from the date the matter is first reported to the police. The reasons for the delay in reporting to the police are also usually taken into account.
In cases involving children the two year time limit would apply from the date a child reaches the age of 18.
The government have introduced stricter guidelines under the scheme regarding those who apply and have unspent convictions on their criminal record. In most cases depending on the type of conviction this can now mean an automatic rejection of a claim.