Criminal Injury Compensation: What if you have a criminal record?

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The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government body that manages a compensation scheme for blameless victims of crime who have been physically or psychologically injured. Here we discuss what happens in a claim when applicants who may have a justified case for compensation following an injury, also happen to have a criminal record.

How a criminal record can effect your CICA claim

Changes have been introduced from 27th November 2012 under the CICA scheme relating to unspent convictions. The CICA tightened up their criteria for considering awards for those who (however blameless in terms of their crime related injuries) have themselves committed criminal acts that have led to a conviction.

A standard police record and CRB check will usually be carried out when the CICA assess a claim. Any relevant convictions should be disclosed upon notification of a claim, failure to do so immediately prejudices the applicants right to claim. Honesty is most definitely the best policy.

Despite the changes to the Scheme in 2012, this has to be balanced against wider legal reforms which benefit those with criminal convictions. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) criminal convictions are subject to a period of disclosure whereby they can be deemed relevant to job applications or insurance quotes etc. Beyond the period of disclosure they become “spent” or rehabilitated and are no longer relevant.

The periods of “rehabilitation” under the 1974 Act have been reduced quite significantly for less serious convictions following the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012 (LASPO). The LASPO Act had the effect of modernising the old 1974 Act but contrary to what many believe, the original ROA still stands as current law.

What you need to know if you have a conviction

Firstly we would advise you to read this page regarding convictions and how or when they become spent. Under the new rules if you are over 18 and have been convicted of any offence resulting in one or more of the following, it is possible you may not be eligible to make a claim:

(Be aware – specific advice on your case is strongly recommended)

  1. A sentence excluded from rehabilitation
  2. A custodial sentence of more than 4 years (note: childhood abuse claims may be exempt)
  3. A Military Court custodial sentence of more than 4 years
  4. Any equivalent sentence to the above if received in Northern Ireland or a member state of the EU

Lesser convictions may still allow for a claim to be made. If you have been subject to a fine, ban, conditional caution or similar – these types of sentence can still be taken into consideration by the CICA, however they may not result in a complete rejection of a claim.

In the majority of cases if these sentences are still classed as “unspent” the CICA are in a position to consider a reduction to the amount of compensation that may be available.

Speeding related offences i.e. speeding fines/ penalty points will no longer be considered by the CICA under the new 2012 scheme.

How much can compensation be reduced by?

The CICA assess a reduction by applying penalty points under the scheme following the results of a convictions check.

These penalty points range from 1 (being the minimum) to 10 or more being the maximum. Compensation is usually subject to a percentage reduction depending on the number of penalty points that apply, e.g. 1 penalty point can mean a 10% reduction to compensation, 2 penalty points can mean a 15% reduction and so on. The maximum of 10 penalty points or more will usually result in a rejection of a claim.

You may wish to calculate your potential sexual abuse compensation award to have an understanding of your entitlement.