How do I make a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority claim?

Concerned and injured man on sofa after criminal assault

If you are the victim of a violent crime, you may be able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, even if the offender is not convicted of the crime.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government agency that has the authority to pay compensation to the innocent victims of crime England, Wales or Scotland. CICA is funded by public money. The agency pays out compensation claims regardless of whether the person who committed the crime is caught, prosecuted or convicted.

How does CICA work?

When CICA was first established, it was not intended to literally compensate someone for the monetary value of their injuries, but instead to be "an expression of public sympathy for innocent victims of violent crime." Today, CICA sets a tariff system to assess compensation payments as well as the rules you must follow to make a claim.

Under the tariff system, injuries are graded according to their seriousness and each injury is given a corresponding level of compensation. Partial deafness in one ear, for example attracts an award of £1,800. Quadriplegia, the most serious injury, attracts the maximum single-injury award of £250,000.

Where multiple injuries are sustained, CICA will award compensation for each injury although second and subsequent injuries receive compensation at a reduced rate. The maximum amount you can receive through CICA after all injuries and expenses are taken into account is £500,000.

Am I eligible to make a claim?

To be eligible for compensation through CICA you must:

  • have been injured in a criminal act of violence in the UK
  • have been injured seriously enough to qualify for at least the minimum award of £1,000
  • make an application within two years of the criminal incident, except in very rare circumstances.

Your conduct during and immediately following the incident may have a bearing on the outcome of your claim. In particular, CICA may refuse your claim if you did not report the incident to the police in a timely manner or if you failed to co-operate with the police or with the CICA investigation.

CICA may also deny your claim if you have unspent criminal convictions.

How do I apply?

The application process is straightforward and can be completed by filling out the application on the CICA website.

To complete the form you may need some (or all) of the following information:

  • The location and date the crime occurred
  • The crime reference number
  • The name of the police station where you reported the crime
  • Contact details for your GP (or other medical professional who treated your injuries)

You may also need to give details of any previous CICA claims you have made, and details of any past convictions.

What happens after I complete the CICA claim application form?

Once lodged, a CICA claims officer will investigate your claim to decide your eligibility for compensation and the level of award you will receive. As part of the investigation process, CICA may ask that you attend a further medical examination to assess the level of your award.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher