Young crime victim backs campaign against compensation cuts

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Young crime victim backs campaign against compensation cuts

24th May 2012

The campaign against Government plans to cut the amount of compensation payable to victims of violent crime has been backed by a teenager who was badly beaten by a group of young girls.

An expert in Criminal Injuries Compensation has welcomed news that the 16-year-old has spoken out against Ministry of Justice proposals to end payments for claims below £2,500, and significantly reduce payments for claims below £11,000.

Matthew Evans, head of the Criminal Injuries department at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the teenager is just one of many who would be affected by the proposals.

“The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority helps thousands of victims and families of those affected by violent crime every year, but there is a set tariff that means victims can only receive a certain amount depending on the severity of the crime and injuries they suffered,” said Matthew, a partner with the firm.

“We already feel that this tariff does not reflect the true impact violent crimes can have on their victims. Further reducing the amount of compensation just adds insult to injury.

“In this particular case, the young victim was left with two black eyes and a neck injury after she was attacked and beaten up at random by a gang of seven girls,” said Matthew. “She was in a lot of pain and had to wear a neck brace for several weeks after the attack. It really affected her, but having access to compensation made her feel like she was able to get some sort of justice.”

The young victim received £2,800 after bringing a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICA). But under the Government’s proposals, she would receive less than half that amount.

The CICA was established in 1964 to manage and administer compensation to those who have been injured as a result of crime. It can award compensation in amounts from £1,000 up to a maximum of £500,000.

“Our clients include people of all ages who have been victims of serious and violent crimes, including assault, robbery, sexual offences and arson,” said Matthew. “In some circumstances the CICA will also make payment to someone who has suffered a psychological injury as a result of witnessing an attack on a loved one. Other victims are less seriously injured, but nevertheless they are entitled to redress under the scheme.”

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is spearheading the campaign against the Government proposals to reduce the compensation amounts awarded under the CICA scheme.

“This young girl who has backed the campaign was in a lot of pain and felt nervous leaving the house for a long time after she was assaulted,” said Matthew. “The compensation she received was is in recognition of what she has been through. Sadly her story is all too familiar, and it is only right that injured victims of crime such as this girl are allowed to bring valid claims for proper redress.

“By cutting crime victims’ compensation, the Government is cutting their access to justice,” said Matthew. “I would hope the strength of feeling being demonstrated by APIL and those directly affected, such as this young victim, encourages the Ministry of Justice to rethink its plans.”

Read more at: APIL