New way to apply for Criminal Compensation.
What is Criminal Injuries Compensation?
It is a scheme that gives financial compensation to victims of crime in the UK. This scheme applies to victims of all crimes but includes domestic abuse. If you have been physically injured, a relative has been killed, you witnessed a crime being perpetrated to someone close to you or you had to pay for the funeral of someone who died as a result of a crime, then you may be eligible to claim. You do need to have reported the crime to the police before you make the application for compensation. The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) is responsible for administering the scheme and deciding who is eligible.
Many victims and survivors of domestic abuse are not aware of this scheme or that they may be eligible for compensation. Yet, the scheme has been in operation for many years.
I did not know about this scheme. I was made aware by the two police officers who were dealing my case many years ago. They encouraged me to apply. Of course, I had reported my abuse to the police and my case had gone through the criminal justice process and my ex husband had been found guilty, which was one of the rules back then. However, that is not the case now and you no longer have to have had a guilty verdict in the criminal court to be able to apply or be eligible. Nor do the proceedings need to be finished before an application can be made.
About 18 months after I applied, I was informed I was to be awarded compensation for the injuries I sustained from my, by then, ex husband. A partial part of the award was also for the emotional trauma and impact on my mental health. I think at the time, I was really pleased as I was on benefits at the time and I was awarded a lot of money – or at least it was a lot of money back then. but very quickly, my feelings changed. As soon as I had the cheque in my hand (Yes, it was a cheque! that is how long ago it was!), I just felt that I shouldn’t have it. That it was somehow wrong, in bad taste – blood money! I wanted to spend it as quickly as I could because it just didn’t feel right being given it. I guess it was all part of the journey to accepting that I was not to blame and that I did deserve to be compensated. I have met a few women over they ears who have applied for criminal injury compensation and then felt exactly as I did. And you do have to go back over everything that happened to you which is really difficult to do, when all you want to do is forget!
That is why I wanted to write today’s blog to let everyone that doesn’t know about it, know about it! And everyone that does know about it and are thinking of applying, that the CICA have now simplified the process for applying.
The original application form was very triggering and having to relive the experiences, the ‘crimes’, often led to re-traumatisation for people who applied. The CICA have now removed a lot of the potentially traumatising trigger questions. However, you still have to give them as much information as you can so that they can process and make a decision on the application.
This simplified application form comes after extensive research involving the views and opinions of many victims of crime and victim support services. The form can be accessed online and there is guidance to help people complete the form. There is also a specialist customer support team who can help people complete the application over the phone.
For anyone reading this who thinks they may be eligible I have posted the link to the GOV.UK guidance here…….
If after reading this guidance, you think you may be eligible, please do apply. Because I now know I did deserve it and had I of understood it better back then, I could of used the compensation to make my life and my child’s life better, instead of blowing it on things I can’t even remember and certainly didn’t need because I felt unworthy of it!