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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Compensation for victims of crime

You might be able to get compensation if you have been the victim of crime. Compensation can help you if you have been injured, or suffered financial loss or damage to your property. Find out how you might be able to get compensation.

Different ways you can get compensation

You may be able to get compensation in the following ways, depending on the type of crime and situation:

  • from the criminal, through a criminal court
  • from the person to blame, through a civil court
  • from the government, if you’re the victim of a violent crime

Getting compensation from the criminal

Tell the police officer dealing with your case how you have been affected by the crime

You may be able to get compensation from the criminal through a criminal court (a magistrates’ court or a Crown Court). You can’t get compensation from the criminal if they have been sent to prison.

Courts can order the offender to pay you money if you have been injured, suffered financial loss or your property has been damaged.

You will need to speak to the police officer dealing with your case. Give them accurate details of how you have suffered or been affected.

It’s a good idea to keep a record of:

  • extra costs, like medical bills or property repairs
  • money you have missed out on because you couldn’t work
  • receipts and estimates

The police will tell the Crown Prosecution Service, who will ask the court about compensation. You don’t need to apply to the court for compensation.

If the judge or magistrates decide to order compensation, they have to make a decision based on what the offender can afford.

Taking someone to court for compensation

You could take someone to a county court to claim compensation. You could do this even if the person isn’t found guilty of the crime.

It will cost you money to ‘sue’ the person and go to court in this way. You need to work out how much this will cost, and if this is worth it. You may not win the case.

It is worth getting legal advice if you’re considering taking someone to court.

Getting compensation from the government for violent crime

If you’ve been the victim of a violent crime, you may be able to get compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

You can get compensation for different reasons, including:

  • for injuries (which can include mental injuries and periods of abuse)
  • loss of earnings if you were unable to work for more than 28 weeks
  • because a loved one has died as a result of a violent crime

Appealing against a decision on compensation for violent crime

If you are not happy with the decision made by the CICA, you can appeal to a tribunal.

The CICA can give you with an appeals form, together with a guide to the appeals process.

Getting compensation for violent crime in EU countries

If you are a UK resident and were hurt as a result of violent crime in another EU country, you can apply for compensation.

The CICA’s EU Compensation Assistance Team (EUCAT) can help you apply for compensation in a European Union country

You can call EUCAT on 0800 358 3601 from 8.30 am to 8.00 pm Mondays to Fridays, and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm on Saturdays.

You can also email the team at:

eucat@cica.gsi.gov.uk

Getting compensation for violent crime in countries outside the EU

If you were injured as a result of a violent crime in a country outside the EU, you can apply to that country for compensation.

The US Office for Victims of Crime website has a directory of international compensation programmes with details of what types of compensation different countries offer.

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Additional links

Going to court as a witness

Watch a video giving a step-by-step guide to going to court as a witness

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