Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme: a guide
A guide to applying for compensation under the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme.
How to use this guide
This is a digital guide for people who have applied, or are thinking of applying, for compensation under the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme 2012 (we call this ‘the Scheme’). The Scheme applies to all applications received on or after 27 November 2012. This guide should be read in conjunction with the Scheme, which remains the authoritative document. You can get a copy of the Scheme at the link above or from our website.
This guide is to help you understand the Scheme. This guide is divided into helpful topics such as the eligibility rules, how to make an application, your responsibilities and how we will handle your claim. This guide will also link to the relevant sections of the Scheme or other organisations’ websites where appropriate.
Simply click on a topic from the contents list and this will automatically take you to that area of the guide. If you are looking for a particular keyword, press ‘control’ and ‘f’ and then enter the keyword in the search area.
What is the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Scheme?
The Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme is a government funded scheme designed to compensate blameless victims who sustain a relevant injury which is directly attributable to their being a direct victim of a designated act of terrorism overseas. We, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), administer the Scheme and decide all claims.
The rules of the Scheme and the value of the payments awarded are set by Parliament and are calculated by reference to a tariff of injuries. Although the size of the award varies to reflect the seriousness of the injury, we know that it will never fully compensate you for what you have suffered or lost - it is just society’s way of recognising that you have been a victim of terrorism.
Getting help with your application
Free independent advice
You do not need a paid representative such as a solicitor or claims management company to apply for compensation. Free independent advice may be available from your local Citizens Advice service, a law centre or from a welfare rights organisation. If you belong to a trade union, they may also be able to help.
Applicants in England and Wales can access the Victims’ Information Service which helps you find information and local support. You can find further details by:
- visiting their website at www.victimsinformationservice.org.uk; or
- telephoning them on 0808 168 9293
Applicants in Scotland and Northern Ireland can contact their local Victim Support team who offer free and confidential support, and practical help to victims and witnesses of crime. This can include helping you with your claim. You can contact them by:
- telephoning the Victim Support line on 0845 60 39 213 (Scotland) or 028 9024 3133 (Northern Ireland);
- visiting their website at www.victimsupportsco.org.uk or www.victimsupportni.co.uk ; or
- emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or email@example.com
Victim Support cannot provide legal advice.
If you choose paid representation we cannot meet the cost of this, and you will have to pay these costs yourself. Where someone is representing you on a ‘no-win no-fee’ basis this usually means that they will keep a share of your payment to cover their fees. You may wish to check how much of your payment will go to your representative before you agree to paid representation.
If you have appointed a representative then decide that you no longer wish to be represented by them or you wish to change your representative, you must inform us. We will continue to process your claim, but we must establish whether you have settled any outstanding fees owed to your former representative. If not, the amount of fees under dispute will be held back if any award of compensation is made. This amount will be released when you and your former representative confirm, in writing, that the matter has been resolved.
You can ask a friend or a relative to represent you and help you make a claim. However, we will need confirmation from you that you are happy for them to deal with the case.
What payments are available from the Scheme?
We can consider claims for the following:
- mental or physical injury following a designated act;
- sexual or physical abuse;
- loss of earnings - where you have no or limited capacity to work, lasting more than 28 weeks, as the direct result of a designated act;
- special expenses payments - these cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of a designated act. You can only ask us to consider special expenses if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated to a similar extent for more than 28 weeks;
- a fatality caused by a designated act including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency; and funeral payments.
Not all claims for compensation will be successful; you must be eligible under the rules of the Scheme.
Applying for compensation
The Scheme is intended to be one of last resort. Where the opportunity exists for you to pursue compensation in the United Kingdom or elsewhere you should do so. We will expect you to take all reasonable steps to obtain any social security benefits, insurance payments, damages or compensation to which you may be entitled as a result of your injuries. For example, we may ask for evidence that you have:
- asked your employer about damages or insurance entitlements if your injury was sustained while working overseas;
- exhausted all entitlements from your travel insurance; and
- applied for all benefits to which you may be entitled.
We may not make a decision on your case until we are satisfied that you are eligible and you could not get compensation from any other sources. You must keep CICA informed about any other claims you are pursuing.
Regardless of whether or not you are seeking compensation or damages from other sources you should make your application to CICA as soon as possible.
Time limits for applying
You must apply as soon as it is reasonably practicable for you to do so. If you were an adult at the time of the designated act, this should normally not be later than two years after the last date of the designated act. We can only extend this time limit where:
- due to exceptional circumstances an application could not have been made earlier; and
- the evidence provided in support of the application means that it can be determined without further extensive enquiries by a claims officer.
Our decision will be based on the ‘balance of probabilities’. This is different from a criminal court which decides on the basis of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. We do not need to wait for the outcome of a criminal trial if there is already enough information to make a decision on your case, so you should never make that a reason for delaying your application.
If you wish us to consider your application more than two years from the last date of the designated act you will need to provide us with evidence that shows why this application could not have been made earlier. You must also be able to provide supporting evidence for your claim that means that the claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.
Time limit for applicants under 18 years of age on the date of the designated act
Special provision is made in the Scheme if you were under 18 at the time of the designated act. Although we will consider later applications from you in those circumstances, it is best if you apply as soon as possible. If you are not able to make your own application, your parent or guardian can apply on your behalf. If an application is made close to the time of the designated act it will be easier for you to provide evidence that you were injured as the result of a designated act of terrorism.
If the designated act ended before you turned 18, and no-one made a claim on your behalf, you can make a claim to us up until the day of your 20th birthday.
However, you must also be able to provide supporting evidence with your claim that means a claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.
If you wish to apply after you have turned 20 you will also need to provide us with evidence that shows why the application could not have been made earlier.
Applying for a payment
You can apply for compensation:
- By completing our application form which can be downloaded from our website at www.gov.uk or sent to you by our Customer Service Centre; or
- By telephone, if you need assistance to make the application. Our Customer Service Centre advisors can assist you to make a claim over the telephone.
Our Customer Service Centre advisors can be contacted on 0300 003 3601. The team is available from 08:30 to 17:00 except Wednesday when we are open from 10:00 to 17:00. You can also email us if you require any general advice: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are unsure about whether or not you are eligible for a payment, or have a question about the application process, our Customer Service Centre advisors will be happy to give you advice.
Applying on behalf of children
If you are the parent, or person with parental responsibility for a child, you can normally complete an application on their behalf. You will be asked to provide your details and proof of your relationship to the child.
Applying on behalf of an adult who cannot apply themselves
If you have the authority to act on behalf of a person who lacks the capacity to make their own application, you can apply on their behalf. We will seek evidence that you are entitled to act on their behalf.
We may also need you to obtain medical evidence that the person you are representing lacks capacity, or is ‘incapable by reason of mental disorder’, within the meanings of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (England and Wales), Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 or the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986
If the person does not already have someone who is legally appointed to act on their behalf, then you may need to apply to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy or for a single order (England and Wales), to the Office of Care and Protection of the High Court for the appointment of a controller (Northern Ireland) or, in Scotland, to the Sheriff Court for the appointment of a financial welfare guardian or for an intervention order. There is more information at www.publicguardian.gov.uk (England and Wales) or www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk (Scotland), or, if you are in Northern Ireland, at www.courtsni.gov.uk or by emailing email@example.com
Once appointed, the deputy, controller or financial welfare guardian will be able to:
- authorise all the enquiries we need to make of others;
- decide whether to accept a payment on behalf of the injured person;
- ask for a review; or
- appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation).
If you are injured outside Great Britain in a non-terrorist act
If you are a United Kingdom (UK) resident and were injured as a result of a crime of violence in another country which is part of the European Union (EU) we can help you apply for compensation from that country. Please call our EU Assistance Team on 0300 003 3601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of compensation schemes in other countries can be found on the EU Judicial website
If you were injured outside the EU, you may be able to apply under a similar scheme operated by the country concerned. Please contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for more information. Details can be found on www.gov.uk
If you were injured in Northern Ireland, you should contact:
25 Great Victoria Street
Telephone: 0300 200 7887
If you are injured in Great Britain in a non-terrorist act
If you were injured in England, Wales or Scotland (Great Britain) you should apply under our domestic Scheme, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Details of this Scheme can be found on our website at www.gov.uk
We can compensate blameless victims of a designated act of terrorism, or people whose loved ones have died as a result of a designated act, provided they meet the eligibility requirements of the Scheme.
Direct victim of a designated act
You may be eligible for an award if you sustained a relevant injury which was directly attributable to being a direct victim of a designated act. A designated act means an act designated under section 47 of the Crime and Security Act 2010.
It is for the Foreign Secretary to consider the facts and circumstances of violent incidents committed overseas and to decide whether the incident should be classed as a designated act. A list of designated acts will be placed on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.gov.uk.
If the Foreign Secretary has not decided whether the incident in which you or the deceased was injured should be classed as a designated act, CICA will write to the Foreign Secretary asking him to consider the incident if all other aspects of the claim appear to be eligible.
Witnessed or present at the immediate aftermath of a designated act
You may be eligible to make a claim for a mental injury if you witnessed, and were present at, a designated act in which a loved one was injured. You may also be eligible if you were present at and witnessed the immediate aftermath of a designated act in which a loved one was injured.
When we say ‘immediate’ we are normally referring to the period of time immediately following the designated act in which a loved one was injured and not where someone is later told about the act either by the victim or another person.
If you are claiming a payment because a loved one was injured in a designated act and you were present at and witnessed the act or its immediate aftermath, you must have suffered a mental injury as a result. We will need medical evidence from a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist confirming that this is the case.
Suffer bereavement as a result of a designated act
If you are a close relative of a person who died as a direct result of sustaining a relevant injury as a result of a designated act, you may be able to apply for a payment. To be eligible for such payments you must be what the Scheme calls a ‘qualifying relative’.
A qualifying relative is someone who, when the victim died, was in one of the groups listed in paragraph 52 of the Scheme
The definition of ‘child’ is not limited to a person below the age of 18. It includes adult children and anyone who was accepted by the deceased as his or her child or a child of the deceased born after the incident.
If you are the victim’s former spouse or civil partner registered under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and were financially dependent on the victim at the time they died you may be eligible to apply for a dependency payment. You will not be eligible for a bereavement payment.
Former spouses and civil partners of the deceased, as well as anyone estranged from the deceased at the time of their death, are not eligible for a bereavement award.
If you are a qualifying relative and were not divorced or estranged from the deceased at the time of death, you may be eligible for a bereavement payment.
A person who was responsible for the death of a victim cannot get a payment as a result of the death.
We may also reduce or withhold a payment if the conduct of either you or the deceased, before, during or after the designated act makes it inappropriate to make an award or a full award.
The character of the deceased, as shown by their criminal convictions or otherwise, will not ordinarily be taken into account. However, we will refuse to make a payment where the deceased’s convictions or behaviour was so serious that to pay for their funeral, or to make other payments, would be an inappropriate use of public funds. See also Taking account of your criminal record.
Children of someone who died
You may claim for a child’s payment if the child is a qualifying relative who was under 18 at the time of death and dependent on the deceased for parental services. This is an amount of money to provide some small recognition of what a child loses as the result of the death of a parent, such as:
love and affection;
care and supervision;
being taken to and from clubs and activities; and
The entitlement to which a child’s payment will relate begins on the date of death and ends on the day before the child’s 18th birthday. The child’s payment is £2,000 for each full year, proportionally reduced for part years. We calculate this as a lump sum.
We may also be able to pay an additional amount for such expenses incurred by the child as a direct result of the loss of parental services as a claims officer considers reasonable.
Normally, we will retain the full value of any payment in an interest bearing account until the child is 18. However, we can make payment for loss of parental services and financial dependency, through annual advances, to the person with parental responsibility for the child. We will also consider other advances where these are solely for the child’s advancement, education or long-term benefit.
Dependent on someone who died
You may claim for a dependency payment if you were a qualifying relative who was financially or physically dependent on the deceased at the time of their death. It will be for you to provide evidence to show that the deceased was making a material financial contribution to your upkeep.
To be eligible, on the date of death the deceased victim must have met the conditions of paragraph 36 of the Scheme. If the deceased was not in paid work they must have had good reasons for not being so, for example, they were unable to work because they were in full-time education, or by reason of their age or caring responsibilities.
We will not make a financial dependency payment if the deceased relied on social security benefits as their main income.
The payment is calculated over the period of dependency at the weekly rate of statutory sick pay in force at the date we determine the case.
The eligible period of payment begins on the date of death, and ends on the period defined in paragraph 62.
If there is more than one qualifying relative eligible for a financial dependency payment, the weekly amount will be divided in equal shares between the claimants that qualify during that week. As the number of qualifying relatives reduces (for example, when a child turns 18), the weekly amount will be split equally between the remaining claimants.
We make the dependency payment in a lump sum unless we are making a payment to a qualifying relative who is a child under the age of 18. In these cases we will normally retain the dependency payment in our Retained Awards section until the child is 18, and make payments through annual advances to the person with parental responsibility for the child.
If you are a qualifying relative and the deceased was your main carer you may be eligible for a physical dependency payment. We define a main carer as the person who met the majority of your care needs. The period of loss for which we may be able to provide a payment starts from the date the victim died.
We consider a claim for physical dependency in the same way as we would for a financial dependency claim.
Examples of physical dependency are getting help with:
- personal hygiene (toileting/bathing);
- continence management;
- food preparation and eating;
- medication and simple treatments; or
- keeping you safe from harm.
Where a person has died as a result of a designated act, we may make a payment in respect of their funeral expenses.
A flat rate funeral payment of £2,500 can be made as soon as basic eligibility has been established. This is intended to cover the costs of a normal funeral.
A further payment of up to £2,500 may be payable where the particular circumstances mean that the flat rate will not cover the funeral costs. The total amount of a funeral payment cannot exceed £5,000.
Claims for expenses in excess of the £2,500 basic allowance will only be paid where receipts or other satisfactory evidence is provided for the costs incurred and where those costs are reasonable.
The funeral expenses may include items such as:
- provision of a funeral;
- newspaper announcements;
- funeral breakfasts / non-alcoholic refreshments;
- transporting the deceased back to their country of origin.
The list above is not exhaustive. We will consider other costs if they are supported by receipts or other satisfactory evidence.
If you have already received money from public funds to help pay for funeral costs, we may take this into account when deciding your claim.
Someone dies of their injuries at a later date
We may be able to make a payment after a victim’s death even if they got a payment for their injury before they died. If the victim has died because of their injury, qualifying relatives may be eligible to claim. The payment to the victim will affect the payment to relatives as follows:
- if there is only one person eligible for a dependency or child’s payment we will reduce this by the amount that has already been paid to the deceased;
- if there is more than one person eligible for a dependency or child’s payment we will reduce this by the amount that has already been paid to the deceased, split proportionally between all recipients. For example, if the deceased had received £3,000 prior to their death, and three eligible recipients made a claim, their total payment would be reduced by £1,000 each.
Someone dies of an unrelated cause before receiving payment
A qualifying relative of a person who sustained a relevant injury but who has died otherwise than as a direct result of that injury may be eligible for a payment if on the date the deceased died:
- the deceased was eligible for a final award but had not received it; and
- the qualifying relative was financially dependent on the deceased.
The payment to which the qualifying relative may be entitled is limited to:
- any loss of earnings that the deceased may have been entitled to before the date of death;
- any special expenses (as allowed under the Scheme) which were incurred by the deceased before the date of death.
No payment will be made to any surviving relatives for the deceased’s injuries. The payment will be reduced by the amount of any award already paid to the deceased.
Nationality and residency criteria
The responsibility for making a case for compensation lies with you. This means that you will need to provide us with the evidence necessary to decide your case. In particular, we may ask you to provide the following evidence:
- proof that you meet the nationality and residency requirements;
- medical evidence that shows you suffered a relevant injury that can be compensated under the Scheme;
- evidence to support a claim for lost earnings or future loss of earnings.
We may collect the following evidence before we ask you to obtain a medical report:
- confirmation that you were injured in a designated act;
- confirmation from the appropriate authorities and/or witnesses that your behaviour did not contribute to the designated act in which your injuries were received;
- confirmation from the prosecuting authorities that you co-operated with them.
Where appropriate we will ask you to provide some basic medical evidence. If there is a cost attached to obtaining the medical evidence then you may be expected to meet this. The cost of obtaining medical evidence will vary but you will not be expected to pay more than £50 in total.
Where you can provide evidence to demonstrate that you cannot reasonably afford to obtain the basic medical evidence, or if the cost exceeds £50, we will consider paying for this. If you tell us you cannot afford to obtain the evidence, we will expect you to provide evidence that you:
are relying solely on any of these benefits;
have a low income and are in receipt of any of these tax credits; or
earn less than the minimum amount needed to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay as evidenced by a pay statement or letter from your employer or, if self-employed, copies of your most recent tax returns.
Where we do this, we will deduct the cost (up to the £50 maximum) from any payment. If you cannot obtain basic medical evidence for any other reason you must let us know and we will assist you where we can.
We may need additional medical or other evidence if your injuries are complex or you are claiming for a mental illness. We may also need to check if you have any pre-existing conditions, if that has not already been covered in the initial medical evidence. In these circumstances we may either ask your treating practitioner for a report or we may arrange for you to be seen by another expert. Where we seek additional medical or psychiatric evidence we will meet the cost of obtaining it.
If we ask you to see an expert, you must keep the appointment. We will meet the reasonable cost of you travelling to and from the appointment. If you miss the appointment, without good reason, we may deduct any costs we have to pay from any award we make.
If you provide medical evidence which we did not ask for, we will only consider meeting the cost of this if it refutes evidence we have used in reaching our decision and, as a result of this, we make a different decision.
Loss of earnings
When we get your claim we will tell you what information we need from you and we will verify this as required. You will be expected to provide evidence supporting your claim for loss of earnings. This might be pay slips or a P60 for the period immediately before you were injured, or a formal offer of a job which you were unable to take up because you were injured. If you were self-employed, we may ask for a copy of your tax returns or for correspondence from HM Revenue & Customs to show that you were in regular paid work. There is further information about loss of earnings payments below.
Paragraphs 84 and 85 of the Scheme outline your obligations in terms of the application process and the provision of information and co-operation required during the progress of your claim. If you need help with your application or information about our processes, our Customer Service Centre will provide assistance.
How we will deal with your claim
When we have a fully completed application from you, we will give you a personal reference number which will help us to identify your application quickly if you need to contact us.
We look at the available evidence including:
- any evidence you gave to the police or prosecuting authorities;
- criminal records; and
- medical evidence (if required).
If you are claiming for loss of earnings or special expenses we may also look at information about your income from the Department for Work and Pensions and/or HM Revenue & Customs. We will tell you if we need you to get this information.
We will ask you to confirm that the information you provide in your claim is true. If we find that you deliberately gave us false information or failed to give us information we asked for (for example, criminal records or details of other claims) we may refuse your claim.
If you contact us for advice or an update on your claim, you will speak to one of our Customer Service Centre advisors. We will always try to answer your query at the first point of contact.
The length of time needed to assess your claim will vary depending on how complicated it is. You can expect to wait around 12 months. Complex cases may take longer to decide. This is because we will not make a decision on your case until you confirm that you have recovered, as far as possible, from your injuries.
We will contact you when we think it is appropriate for you to supply medical evidence to support your claim. For straightforward injuries we may ask you to do this relatively quickly but, if you are still undergoing treatment, we may ask you to wait until the treatment is finished or until such time as any longer term impact of your injuries is known.
When we have all the evidence we need to decide your case, it will be passed to a claims officer. Claims officers decide cases on what is called ‘the balance of probabilities’. This means that their decision is based on their view of what is more likely than not. It is important that you give the claims officer all the evidence that they ask you to provide in order for them to be able to make a decision in your case.
We will inform you of our decision on your claim as soon as it is made. If we have reduced or refused a payment, we will tell you why. We will send you information about what to do if you don’t agree with our decision.
Payment types and their qualifying conditions
You may be eligible for a payment under the Scheme if your injury is described in the tariff of injuries.
If you already had an injury which is listed in the tariff but it has been made worse as a direct result of a designated act you may still be entitled to a payment. We will only make a payment to reflect how much the existing injury has been made worse, not for the injury itself. Where this is valued at less than £1,000, no payment will be made.
If you suffer a mental injury as a result of a sexual assault, we will pay you either the tariff value for the type of assault or the value of the mental injury. We will pay whichever has the highest value; you will not receive a payment for both. This is because the tariff for a sexual assault takes account of the mental trauma.
If you need to have an operation as a result of the injury usually you will not receive a separate payment for scarring arising from the operation.
What happens if you have more than one injury?
If you have two or more injuries so serious that each, on its own, would qualify, you may be entitled to:
- 100 per cent of the full tariff value of the most serious injury; and
- 30 per cent of the tariff amount for the injury with an equal or second highest value; plus
- 15 per cent of the tariff amount for any additional injury with an equal or third highest value.
The Scheme does not allow us to pay for more than three injuries. However, there are additional tariff payments which you can receive if, as a direct result of your injury or assault, you:
- become pregnant;
- lose a foetus; or
- contract HIV, Hepatitis B or C, or a sexually transmitted infection.
Loss of earnings payments
If you are unable to work as a direct result of a designated act you may be eligible to claim a loss of earnings payment.
Your relevant injury must be serious enough to have resulted in a total inability to undertake paid work, or a very limited capacity to do so. By very limited capacity we mean that the extent of your injuries means that you are not capable of undertaking more than a few hours of paid work per week. If you have capacity for paid work, but the type of work is restricted because of your injuries, you will not qualify for a loss of earnings payment.
You must also be able to provide evidence to show that:
- you were in paid work at the time of the designated act; or
- you have an established work history, or a good reason for not having such a history, during the three years immediately prior to the designated act. This may include those in full time education or those who are unable to work by reason of their age or caring responsibilities; and
- your loss of earnings or earnings capacity lasted longer than 28 full weeks. The period of 28 weeks will usually run from the date of the relevant injury. You cannot get a payment for loss of earnings for the first 28 weeks of loss.
We will calculate the length of any payment, beginning after you have lost 28 weeks of earnings, up until whichever is earliest of:
- the day you are no longer incapable of any paid work;
- the day on which you will reach state pension age; and
- the expected end of life where the injury has shortened that period.
The loss of earnings payment will be calculated at the rate of statutory sick pay in force at the date of deciding your claim.
The Scheme allows us to consider claims for certain costs referred to as ‘special expenses’ which you may have incurred as a result of your relevant injury.
You can only ask us to consider a claim for special expenses if your injuries mean you have lost earnings or earning capacity, or have been incapacitated to a similar extent, for more than 28 weeks. We will, however, pay the special expenses from the date of the actual injury. This is different from the loss of earnings rule where we can pay only from week 29.
In order to qualify for a special expenses payment you must be able to prove that the goods or services, or something similar, is not available free of charge from another source. The expense must also be:
- incurred as a direct result of the relevant injury you are applying for; and
You may claim for damage to property or equipment belonging to you which you relied on as a physical aid and which was damaged in the designated act. Examples would include walking sticks, spectacles and dentures. We will ask you for receipts for these.
You may also be able to claim for costs arising from treatment under the NHS or other state health service. We will need proof of what it is you have to pay. Information about NHS services and costs is available from:
Health Benefits Division
Tyne and Wear
Telephone: 0300 330 1343
If you require special equipment; for example, physical aids (including specially-adapted vehicles, wheelchairs and walking aids and kitchen implements to help people whose grip has weakened) you may be able to claim. We will only consider an award for these costs if the equipment is necessary (rather than desirable) and that something similar is not available free of charge from another source.
We may pay for adaptations to your home, which can include changes both inside and outside your home (such as a ramp or a stair lift) to improve your independence or ability to get around. Before we will agree to pay for adaptations we will need proof that these are necessary and that the adaptations you require (or similar) are not available through any other source.
We may pay the cost of care relating to your bodily functions (including toileting, bathing and continence management), or to the preparation of meals (when you are physically unable to cook, or it would be dangerous for you to do so) and supervision (to avoid substantial risk to you and others). We will need confirmation that this care is not available free of change from any other source.
We may pay the costs of appointing someone to administer a mentally incapacitated applicant’s affairs, and the costs of ongoing administration of those affairs.
We may pay the cost of setting up a trust where we have directed under paragraph 99 of the Scheme, that a trust be established, but not any costs associated with administering the trust.
Since we will meet costs only if they cannot be met by the NHS or your local authority, we will ask you for a copy of the local authority assessment of needs showing what, if anything they cannot or will not provide.
We must avoid any double payment. We will reduce any payment for special expenses to take account of social security benefits you receive or could receive to meet any of the same expenses. If the benefit is available to you, we have to take account of it, whether or not you choose to claim it. The Scheme says that if you could receive any social security or other state benefits, we may defer making a decision until you have taken steps to claim them.
Where certain special expenses are awarded we will reduce your payment to take account of any payment you have received, or are entitled to, through insurance.
Withholding or reducing an award
Co-operation with prosecuting authorities
It is not necessary for the person who injured you to be identified, or convicted, in order for you to get a payment. However, we expect you to have done everything reasonably possible to help the prosecuting authorities in the country in which the designated act took place — wherever in the world that might be.
While you may be reluctant to bring charges (for example, if you fear a revenge attack or reprisal) the Scheme is publicly funded and you will not be eligible for a payment unless you co-operate fully with the investigation into the designated act and any prosecution that follows.
Co-operation with CICA or another body
It is your responsibility to give all reasonable assistance to us or another person or body in connection with your claim. We may refuse or reduce any award if, for example:
- you fail to update us of a change to your address or circumstances;
- you repeatedly and without good reason fail to respond to our communications sent to your last known address, this includes both postal and/or email address;
- you don’t tell us about something that could affect your claim;
- you give false or exaggerated details about your injuries; or
- you fail to attend a medical examination that lets us verify your injuries.
The Scheme is intended to compensate blameless victims of designated acts. Before making a payment we have to consider if your behaviour before, during or after the designated act makes it inappropriate to make an award.
Taking account of your criminal record
We may refuse or reduce a payment if you have a criminal record, even though you may have been blameless in the designated act which resulted in your injury.
Annex B of the Scheme says that we must take account of your unspent criminal convictions at the date of application and before we make a final decision. In general, the more serious the sentence you receive, and the more recently it was given, the longer the conviction will take to be spent.
There are some differences to the way in which rehabilitation periods operate in England and Wales from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will apply the appropriate legislation based on where you were ordinarily resident at the time of the designated act.
If you were ordinarily resident in England or Wales
If you were ordinarily resident in England or Wales we will apply the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), which amends the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA).
There are more details on www.gov.uk under new guidance on ROA.
If you were ordinarily resident in Scotland or Northern Ireland
If you were ordinarily resident in Scotland or Northern Ireland we will apply the current rehabilitation periods provided for in the respective rehabilitation of offenders legislation. There are more details on www.scotland.gov.uk under ‘Law, Order and Public Safety’ and www.dojni.gov.uk under legislation.
We will apply the appropriate legislation to the deceased’s convictions depending on whether they were ordinarily resident in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. If the deceased was ordinarily resident abroad, we will apply the legislation in force where you were ordinarily resident at the time of the designated act.
Previous convictions which will lead to an award being withheld
A payment will not be made to you if, at the time you apply, you have an unspent conviction for an offence which resulted in one of the sentences listed in paragraph 3 of Annex B.
Previous convictions other than those which result in an award being withheld.
We will reduce your payment if you have unspent convictions unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so. This does not apply to convictions listed in paragraph 5 of Annex B.
How we calculate the reduction
We decide how much of a reduction to make using a penalty point system. The more recent the conviction and the more serious the sentence, the more penalty points the conviction will attract.
Although the penalty points system helps us improve consistency in decision making, we are not bound by it. Depending on the facts of the case we make a greater or lesser reduction. For example, we may make a smaller reduction or no reduction at all, if you were injured while helping the police uphold the law, or while helping someone who was being attacked. On the other hand, a low points score is no guarantee that we will make an award if your record includes violent or sexual offences.
|1 penalty point||10% reduction|
|2 penalty points||20% reduction|
|3 penalty points||30% reduction|
|4 penalty points||40% reduction|
|5 penalty points||50% reduction|
|6 penalty points||60% reduction|
|7 penalty points||70% reduction|
|8 penalty points||80% reduction|
|9 penalty points||90% reduction|
|10 penalty points||100% reduction|
Other matters relating to convictions
As well as any convictions you have at the time of applying, we will take account of any other convictions you receive before your claim is settled.
If, after making an application but before your award is settled, you receive a conviction you must let us know immediately.
We will consider any evidence available about your character, other than in relation to unspent convictions, which makes it inappropriate for us to make a full or reduced payment. Some types of evidence we may consider are:
- involvement or association in illegal drugs or crime;
- tax evasion or benefit fraud;
- antisocial behaviour orders; or
- any simple cautions or reprimands.
Decisions and administering payments
Accepting a payment
When we have made our decision, we will write to you or your representative to tell you what decision has been made.
If you are offered a payment and you accept our decision, you or your representative must complete and return the acceptance form within 56 days of it being sent to the contact address we have on your file.
If you do not send your acceptance back to us within 56 days, and you have not asked for a review in writing, we may withdraw the determination and no award will be made, in accordance with the terms of the Scheme. You can also write to us asking for the time limit to be extended by up to a further 56 days.
Reviewing a decision
If you disagree with the original decision and want us to review it, you must send us your written application for a review within 56 days of the date of the original decision. You will need to enclose any additional evidence that you wish us to consider in support of your claim.
If it will take you longer than 56 days to collect the evidence you need to support your claim, you should write to us asking for the time limit to be extended by up to a further 56 days. You can ask for an extension even after the first 56 days have passed. However, we will extend the time limit only if there are exceptional circumstances which meant you could not have requested a review earlier.
When we get your request for a review along with all your supporting information, a claims officer, other than the one who made the original decision, will consider it. The review decision can be more or less favourable than the original decision, or the original decision may be unchanged. It is important that you understand that while a possible outcome of a review is that you might get a bigger payment, it is also possible that you will get a lower payment or no payment at all.
How we make a payment
Wherever possible, we will settle claims by offering a single lump sum payment.
We will only accept an instruction to make a payment to you, or your solicitor. This will be paid directly into your/your solicitor’s bank/building society account.
If you do not have a bank or building society account, you may wish to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.
Where we have decided that you are eligible for a payment but we cannot make a final decision then we may consider making an interim payment. If we are unable to make a final decision this is likely to be because we are waiting until the long term impact of your injury is understood.
We may give directions and make arrangements in connection with a payment of compensation, this may include establishing a trust. We may direct that a trust is set up where, for example, we:
- have identified that you are not capable of managing your own finances;
- think a trust will prevent an assailant benefiting from a payment; or
- do not think it would be in your best interests for us to make a payment as a lump sum.
A trust is a fund that is managed by a person or group of people (trustees) on your behalf. You are the beneficiary of the trust. The money will be paid into your trust fund when it is set up.
If the value of a payment is significant we may consider imposing terms on the trust that will allow for any unused portion of the payment to be repaid if it is no longer needed by you.
If we direct the setting up of a trust, and the maximum level of payment has not been reached, we may be able to pay the set-up costs. We cannot cover any costs if you decide to set up a trust where we have not directed that this is necessary. We will not normally consider paying any costs associated with the administration of your affairs. The only exception to this is where you do not have the capacity to manage your own affairs due to the injuries you sustained in the incident that led to the claim.
An annuity is a type of insurance policy that provides a regular income in exchange for a lump sum. The Scheme allows us to consider the use of an annuity. We may do this if we do not think it would be in your best interest to make a payment as a lump sum.
We will not meet costs, if any, of purchasing or administering an annuity.
Appointment of a deputy, controller or financial welfare guardian
Where an adult is legally defined as not capable of managing their own affairs we will make the payment to the deputy (England and Wales), the controller (Northern Ireland) or the financial welfare guardian (Scotland). In some cases we can pay into a trust fund instead. There is more information at www.publicguardian.gov.uk (England and Wales), www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk (Scotland) or if you are in Northern Ireland at www.courtsni.gov.uk or by emailing email@example.com
If you are under 18 when a payment is made
If you are under 18 when you accept a payment, we will normally arrange for the payment to be retained in an interest-earning deposit account until your 18th birthday.
We will normally retain the full value of your award, including the tariff award or bereavement payment and any child’s payment or dependency payment.
We can make payments for loss of parental services (child’s payments) and dependency through annual advances. We will only pay annual advances to the person with parental responsibility for you. We can consider a request from that person to make your payment to a Child Trust Fund, a Junior ISA or another type of account, where the full value of the payment is protected until you are 18 years old. If we agree it is possible to pay the full amount of your payment into such an account before you turn 18 then this could be an alternative to us holding on to your funds. We do not meet any additional costs if your parent or guardian chooses one of these options.
If we are holding the payment for you, we will allow advances if these are needed for your advancement, education or long term benefit. If we make an advance payment, we will need evidence — normally a receipt — proving that it has been used for the purposes intended. If we don’t get this evidence, we may not allow any further advances. We may consider making a full payment if you are 16 or 17 years of age and living independently.
If we receive evidence that shows it would not be in your best interests to be given the payment as a lump sum when you turn 18, we may give further consideration to the use of an annuity or a trust at that time.
We give a full explanation about how we manage payments for young people when we make our payment offer.
Repayment of awards
We can request repayment of part or all of an award after a final payment has been made, if we receive evidence to suggest any of the following
- you did not co-operate as far as reasonably practicable in bringing the assailant to justice;
- you deliberately misled us in relation to an important aspect of your claim;
- you received a payment which the Scheme allows us to take into account, and which was not deducted from the payment before it was paid.
We will write to you to tell you if we require repayment of all, or part, of an award. If you do not agree with our decision you have 30 days from the date of our letter to write to us and explain your reason for disagreement. Our final decision on repayment will be issued to you in writing.
We usually destroy our files 3 years after completion, in line with our records management policy. After that time we would be unlikely to be able to determine an application without further extensive enquiries unless you are able to provide copies of the evidence we used to make the original assessment, such as your application form, police reports, medical reports, CICA decision letters, acceptance forms or Tribunal directions.
Reconsideration of awards
Up until the point that we make a final payment, we may reconsider our decision and take account of new evidence or a change of circumstances. If we are reconsidering your award we will write to you to tell you what we are doing and why. We will invite you to give us your views on what we are reconsidering. You will have 30 days from the date of our letter to write to us and explain why you disagree with our reconsideration. Our final decision on reconsideration will be issued to you in writing.
Re-opening cases and how to appeal
Re-opening a case
We may consider re-opening a case after a final payment is made if the conditions in paragraph 108 of the Scheme are met.
We will not normally re-open a case unless it is within two years of the final decision. If you ask us to re-open a case more than two years after our decision, we will only consider this where you are able to give us enough evidence to make a decision on the case without the need for further extensive enquiries.
Appealing a decision
If you disagree with a review decision, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation) in accordance with Tribunal Procedure Rules. You can find these rules on the First-tier Tribunal website.
When we send you our review decision, we will send you the form to use to ask for an appeal. You will need to fill in the form explaining why you think our decision was wrong. You should also provide any extra material which supports your reasons for an appeal. You should send the form and the evidence to the First-tier Tribunal (not to us) so that they get it within 90 days of the date of the review decision. You can ask the First-tier Tribunal to extend this period, but you must do so within the 90 days. The Tribunal’s address is:
First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation)
134-136 Wellington Street
The First-tier Tribunal will explain its procedures when it gets your request for an appeal. If your appeal proceeds to an oral hearing, it is likely that a representative from the Authority will be at the hearing in order to explain our decision. The members and staff of the First-tier Tribunal are entirely independent of us and will consider the whole claim. They may make a decision that is more favourable or less favourable than the review decision, or the review decision can stay the same. The First-tier Tribunal decision is usually final, unless a Judicial Review finds that they erred in law.
Our aim is to provide a compassionate, efficient and fair service to blameless victims of violent crime.
Our customer charter
Our customer charter details the service you can expect from us and what we expect from you.
Published: 9 June 2014
Updated: 9 October 2015
- Minor changes to guide to improve ease of use.
- Clarification of when we will consider paying for initial medical evidence.
- First published.