Controversial criminal injury claims
The CICA process can be lengthy and time-consuming and there is no guarantee of a successful outcome. The CICA has been criticised for some decision which have been made in the past and here are highlighted two of them.
Darren was one of the victims in the Whitehaven case where 12 people were killed by lone gunman Derrick Bird in 2010. Rewcastle, a taxi driver, was his third victim and his grieving parents were offered £2,750 by the CICA with more than half of that going towards funeral costs. They received a letter from the CICA saying the amount of compensation they were entitled to receive had been cut because their son had previous convictions as a young man.
The CICA was heavily criticised by the National Victim’s Association at the time for the “callous treatment” given to murder victims’ families but the CICA defended its stance, saying they were required to take such matters into account. It said that compensation would only be halved in cases where the victim has been convicted of a serious offence punishable by a prison sentence of at least 30 months.
An older case saw the organisation Women Against Rape complain to the CICA of discrimination against rape survivors on the basis of the discretionary power to reduce or refuse compensation because of a victim’s character or conduct.
It referred specifically to one woman, working as a prostitute, who was raped, beaten and robbed. The CICA first refused to award her compensation on the basis of her character and “unlawful conduct”. The case went to appeal and she was awarded £7,500 for the rape, reduced by 25% to £5,625 because of her “unlawful conduct”.
The victims group said the authority was there to compensate victims for the effects of crime, not to judge the victim or blame her for the violence inflicted, adding that rather than praising her public service in getting a dangerous rapist caught, CICA members had prioritised their moral prejudices about her conduct as a prostitute.
So, it is clear just from the examples above, that a victim’s own behaviour will be taken into account, along with any previous convictions and the manner in which they cooperate with the police and this can lead to contentious and potentially unpopular decisions.