April 17th, 2019
Re-Traumatisation by the CICA
Survivors of violent and sexual crime are being "re-traumatised" by the government's compensation body, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority says the Victims' Commissioner, Baroness Newlove.
Her 125 page report “Compensation without Traumatisation” can be found at :-
The report was written following engagement with over 200 victims, as well as Police and Crime Commissioners, victim support services, criminal justice agencies and lawyers.
The Ministry of Justice is considering her findings.
Baroness Newlove said:
“I believe criminal injuries compensation is important in helping vulnerable victims cope and recover from the most brutal of crimes. Yet my Review shows that the process of making their claim, which should strengthen victims, can have the opposite effect. The process of claiming is often having a detrimental impact on their wellbeing. I worry that we are treating it as a tick box exercise, without recognising the emotional needs of those making claims.”
Even more worryingly, the report flags up low awareness of the Scheme. Only just over a third of victims taking part in a survey reported they were informed of their entitlement to claim compensation by police. Some victims were being encouraged to delay claiming until after the criminal trial, only to find that they were timed outside the two-year window for submitting their claim. The CICA Scheme has very strict time limits, which can deny people compensation if they are not properly advised early on.
The report also says :-
“My overwhelming impression is that whilst compensation awards were well received by victims, the process of making their claim was often traumatic. Victims, lawyers and support services told us about delays, uncertainty about next steps and poor communication. To many, fairly or unfairly, the Scheme seemed calculated to frustrate and alienate. Support on offer, through locally commissioned victim services, for making an application forcompensation was patchy, and in some parts of the country non-existent.”
Hudgell solicitors is well known for its work presenting successful claims to the CICA. We welcome Baroness Newlove’s report.