19.4 Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Claims for Looked After Children (children in care)
Date reviewed April 2023
Date of next review July 2026
(amended June 2019)
- 1. Introduction(Jump to)
- 2. Eligibility(Jump to)
- 3. Timescales(Jump to)
- 4. Making an Application(Jump to)
- 5. Accepting a Payment(Jump to)
- 6. Reviewing Decisions(Jump to)
- 7. Appealing Decisions(Jump to)
- 8. The Award(Jump to)
- 9. Advancing Money from the Award to the Child(Jump to)
- 10. When a Young Person is 18(Jump to)
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a government-funded scheme to compensate victims of violent crime, administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Where a Looked After Child appears to qualify (see Section 2, Eligibility), legal advice must always be sought as to whether or not an application should be made. The CICA can be contacted for advice on eligibility and making a claim.
The purpose of the Scheme is to provide compensation to victims who suffer a serious physical or mental injury as the direct result of a violent crime. The rules of the Scheme and the value of the payments that can be awarded are set by Parliament and are calculated by reference to a tariff of injuries.
The CICA consider the circumstances surrounding the incident and the claimant’s character. Further guidance can be found in the Criminal injuries compensation: a guide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) including grounds for withholding or reducing an award.
A “crime of violence” is described in the CICA guidance as “a crime which involves:
(a) a physical attack;
(b) any other act or omission of a violent nature which causes physical
injury to a person;
(c) a threat against a person, causing fear of immediate violence in
circumstances which would cause a person of reasonable firmness to be
put in such fear;
(d) a sexual assault to which a person did not in fact consent; or
(e) arson or fire-raising.
(2) An act or omission under sub-paragraph (1) will not constitute a crime of violence unless it is done either intentionally or recklessly”
Compensation may be awarded for:
- physical injuries
- disabling mental injuries*
- sexual or physical abuse
*The CICA guidance describes a disabling mental injury (which must have lasted for at least six weeks) as :
“A disabling mental injury is something that significantly affects your day-to-day performance at work or school, your relationships, or your sexual relationships. Mental injuries must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.”
In addition, payments may be made for:
- loss of earnings and special expenses
- bereavement following the death of a close relative from a violent crime
In most cases the victim must apply within 2 years of the crime happening.
The victim may be able to claim for a crime that happened more than 2 years ago if one or both of the following apply:
- The victim is claiming because of childhood sexual or physical abuse
- The victim could not claim earlier, for example because their mental or physical health prevented them from doing so.
Different rules apply, however, where the applicant was under 18 years of age on the date of the incident. The application should always be made as soon as possible. However, the CICA guidance recognises that a child/young person may be claiming in relation to injury sustained as a result of a period of physical or sexual abuse, and that a young person abused as a child may not have felt able to report the incident for some time after the abuse happened.
All incidents must be reported to the police before a claim can be made to the CICA.
No matter how long ago the abuse took place, it should be reported to the police before a claim can be made:
- If the incident or period of abuse was reported to the police before the young person turned 18, a claim will be accepted up to the young person’s 20th birthday;
- If the incident or period of abuse took place before the young person turned 18 but was not reported to the police at the time, a claim will be accepted within two years of the date when the incident was first reported to the police.
If it has not been reported to the police, then the CICA will reject the claim.
4. Making an Application
An application for compensation should be made by the victim of the offence. If the victim is under the age of 18, the application must be made by an adult who has Parental Responsibility for them. If the victim is the subject of a Care Order, the CICA will expect any application to be made by the Local Authority named in the order. In all other situations an application should be made by a person who holds Parental responsibility for the child, even if the child is accommodated by the Local Authority. Children's Social Care has no power to apply on behalf of a child who is not in its care.
Victim and Witness information assistance is available for victims living in England and Wales.
Applications can be made:
- Online, at Gov.uk; and
- By telephone to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Customer Service Centre advisors can assist in making a claim over the telephone.
CICA Inside the UK: 0300 003 3601 Outside the UK: +44 (0)203 684 2517 Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm Relay UK (for people who cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 0300 003 3601 Find out about call charges
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), will require the following information in support of an application for compensation:
- the date and location of the crime
- the name of the police station where the crime was reported
- the crime reference number
- GP’s name and address
- dentist’s name and address (if the victim had dental treatment because of their injuries)
- details of any previous applications made by the victim to CICA
- details of any unspent criminal convictions
5. Accepting a Payment
Legal advice from the Local Authority’s legal advisor should be sought without delay as to whether the offer should be accepted.
The acceptance form must be completed and returned to the CICA within 56 days of it being sent. If it is not returned within 56 days, and no written request has been made for a review or an extension of time, a payment will not be made.
The CICA may extend the 56-day time limit for up to a further 56 days, but only if there are exceptional circumstances which mean that you could not have complied with the time limit. Only one such extension may be allowed.
6. Reviewing Decisions
If the Local Authority’s legal advice is that the decision should be reviewed, a written application for a review must be submitted within 56 days of the date of the original decision. A review form will be sent with the decision. Any additional evidence in support of the claim must be submitted.
If it will take longer than 56 days to collect the supporting evidence, a request should be made for the time limit to be extended by up to a further 56 days. Such requests can be made after the expiry of the first 56 days, but such requests will only be granted if there are exceptional circumstances which meant you could not have requested an extension earlier.
The decision will be reviewed by a different claims officer.
The review decision can be more or less favourable than the original decision, or the original decision may be unchanged.
If the review decision is not accepted, an appeal may be made.
7. Appealing Decisions
A review decision can be challenged by appealing, within 90 days of the date of the review decision, to the First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation). An appeal form will be sent with the review decision. The form and supporting evidence should be sent to:
First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation) Wellington House 134-136 Wellington Street Glasgow G2 2XL
The Tribunal is independent of the CICA.
The Tribunal must hold a hearing before making a decision unless it considers that it is able to decide the matter without a hearing and each party has consented to, or has not objected to, the matter being decided without a hearing.
The appeal tribunal may make a decision that is more favourable or less favourable than the review decision, or the review decision can stay the same.
8. The Award
Payment of compensation is usually by a single lump sum, but if a medical situation is unclear, one or more interim payments may be made.
No compensation will be paid until the CICA receives an acceptance of the award in writing. Every effort must therefore be made to minimise the delay in responding to the Authority.
If the payment is accepted, the CICA will normally put the money in an interest-earning deposit account in the child’s name, the payment to be paid to the child (together with all interest earned) when they reach 18.
The CICA may consider requests to make payment into a Child Trust Fund/Junior ISA or another type of account where the full value of the payment is protected until the child is 18 years old.
9. Advancing Money from the Award to the Child
The CICA may allow advances if these are needed for the child’s sole benefit, education or welfare (not for general spending money).
They may consider making a full payment if the child is 16 or 17 years of age and living independently.
The CICA need evidence (normally a receipt) proving that the compensation was used for the purposes intended. If they don't receive this evidence, they may not allow any further advances.
10. When a Young Person is 18
When the young person reaches the age of 18 years, responsibility for handling the money awarded by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will be handed over to them unless it is felt they would be incapable of dealing with it.
If the CICA receive evidence which shows it would not be in the child’s best interests to be given the payment as a lump sum when they turn 18, they may consider the use of an annuity or a trust at that time.