Gerrard case turns spotlight on violent crimes

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Gerrard case turns spotlight on violent crimes

27th July 2009

The high-profile trial of England footballer Steven Gerrard - who on 24 July was cleared of affray following an incident in a nightclub - has once again turned the spotlight on how a simple night out can end in violence.

Matthew Evans, partner at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the recent case demonstrated that violence can enter our lives at the most unexpected of times. "Bar brawls and scuffles at the end of a night out have become all too common, and the repercussions can often be forgotten amid the headlines," he said. "While thankfully none of the parties in this case suffered serious injuries, there are a number of incidents each year where victims of crime sustain catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

"Victims of assault and violent crime can face long periods of time off work or even lose their jobs because of the injuries they sustain," said Matthew, who works to ensure people left injured by violent crime are properly compensated. "Others - including the families of victims - can suffer psychological trauma for weeks, months or even years afterwards."

Matthew said that thousands of crime victims across the country could be missing out on the compensation that they're entitled to, simply because they are unaware of their options. In particular, he said, not enough people knew about the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme, in which innocent victims of crime can be awarded compensation.

"Some of my clients have been through truly terrifying ordeals and often include victims of the most serious crimes," said Matthew. "Although nothing can ever change what has happened to them, compensation really can help make a difference to their lives. Many people often see a payment of compensation as government recognition of the ordeal that they have gone through."

"What few people know is that it is possible to apply for compensation without going to court," he said. "Of course, sometimes the attacker is never caught. Victims can make a claim even if they do not know the identity of their attacker, or if no-one has been charged or convicted," he said.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme allows those who have been affected by a violent crime - be it physically or psychologically - to apply for compensation from the Government, rather than trying to sue the criminal. The CICA has the power to make awards of up to a maximum of £500,000, including lost earnings.

The families of the victims of murder and manslaughter are also entitled to claim compensation for their own loss and suffering. "Many of our clients are the families of people who have been killed by acts of violence," said Matthew. "No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but the compensation award can help bring a sense of justice to the victim and allow them to move on with their lives.

"We aim to make the process significantly less traumatic for victims, and help them get the compensation to which they are entitled," he said.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons Solicitors has a specialist criminal injury compensation department. If you think that you have a case, or if you require further information, please contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.