I have made detailed submissions in response to the MoJ consultation on its Criminal Injuries Compensation Review, which was published on 16 July.
Criminal injuries compensation is an important part of the package of support on offer to victims of the most serious sexual and violent crime. A compensation award can offer reassurance to victims that society recognises the terrible wrong that has been done to them.
In delivering a compensation scheme of this nature, we must never lose sight of the fact that victims who make applications are those who have experienced the most serious sexual or violent crimes and many will be traumatised and still suffering from the life changing psychological and physical injuries inflicted upon them. The scheme must not be regarded as transactional, but an important component part to helping victims cope and recover from crime.
In my response I make a number of recommendations, including:
- Bereaved victims of homicide abroad should be eligible to apply to the UK criminal injuries compensation scheme;
- Victims with unspent criminal convictions should not automatically be exempt from claiming compensation;
- Tariffs should be increase annually in line with inflation so that awards are not constantly being eroded;
- The two year time limit for claims should be amended to two years or 12 months after a trial, whichever is later;
- The CICA should provide all claimants with a single point of contact to avoid having to repeat their details each time they call;
- No victim should be required to set out their story on the application form – this information is already available on police reports;
- MoJ and Police and Crime Commissioner must consider how vulnerable victims can access the scheme without losing up to 30% of their award in legal fees;