VC Review to investigate crime victims support for claiming criminal injuries compensation

VC Baroness Newlove meets family of murder victim on The One Show to hear first-hand their problems in claiming compensation ahead of her new review launch

In June 2015, Andrea Dollery experienced tragedy when her husband Ian was murdered by a stranger.

Robert Kay, 48, stabbed Ian Dollery, 51, at least 30 times in an unprovoked “savage and brutal” attack at his home in St Annes, Lancashire.

Mr Dollery’s wife, Andrea, and daughter, Grace, managed to fight off Kay, but Mr Dollery later died. Kay, who has schizophrenia, was convicted of murder by jury at Preston Crown Court and jailed for life.

Since then, widow Andrea and Grace state they have endured an endless series of difficulties with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to simply claim compensation they are entitled to.

Baroness Newlove with presenter Anita Rani, Andrea and Grace Dollery

To raise awareness of their plight, they approached BBC1’s The One Show who are investigating people’s experiences with CICA. There have been concerns raised about how crime victims are awarded compensation by CICA and the Dollerys are clearly frustrated by their experience.

Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove met Andrea and Grace in her London office to hear first-hand their story and the problems they have endured in their struggles to apply for compensation.

The VC will launch her CICA review into victims’ ability to access compensation later this spring, and is keen for crime victims to contact her to share their experiences. Grace Dollery said: “We don’t want others to go through the same process that we have.”

She explained how her father’s murder left them in a tough financial position given that he was the family breadwinner. They started the process of claiming from the CICA in February 2017. However Andrea and Grace felt that right from the start, the process was beset by delays dragging on more than two years, disorganisation and lack of empathy.

The One Show arranged for the Dollerys’ to come to London and meet Baroness Newlove to share their concerns in the hope that her new review will influence lasting change.

Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove with One Show presenter, Anita Rani

The Dollerys’ feel strongly that most issues with CICA would be resolved if they had an initial point of liaison who could meet families (in extraordinary cases such as this), sort out key paperwork, and provide a human face for the organisation.

After meeting the Dollerys, Baroness Newlove said: “My heart goes out to Andrea and Grace for what has clearly been a stressful experience on top of their unbearable loss.

Careful not to pre-empt the findings of her review, the VC said: I’ve been contacted by a number of victims concerned about their experiences of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and this has partly prompted me to launch a review so I can explore the issues.

“I am keen that my review will encourage TV viewers who have been crime victims to write in and share their experiences – good and bad – so I can get a fully rounded portrait of what’s going on across the country.”

The review will scrutinise the scheme from the victims’ viewpoint to evaluate the provision of support available as well as accessibility of the scheme. It will also;

  • Study whether victims are given adequate support to ensure they’re able to access whatever compensation they’re entitled to.
  • Identify levels of support for victims applying for compensation across different regional areas.
  • Identify the hardest areas within the application form that act as an obstacle to victims.

Following their meeting, Grace Dollery said: “I’m so glad I made the effort to come down to London and meet Baroness Newlove. I finally feel somebody is listening, and if it can stop another family from enduring our struggles, that would make it worthwhile.”

The One Show featuring Baroness Newlove and the Dollery family remains on BBC iPlayer for a month. If you’d like to take part in the VC’s Review on criminal injuries compensation, contact by 30 April.