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6.15 Criminal Injuries Compensation

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure outlines the circumstances when it may be possible to make a claim for compensation on behalf of a looked after child subject to Section 31 Children Act 1989 for whom Children’s Services has the parental responsibility and the process which must be followed in order to proceed with making a claim. The procedure also outlines the role of independent chairs in identifying and promoting claims in relevant cases, both looked after and non-looked after children.

This chapter was added to the manual in January 2018.


Contents

  1. Background
  2. Process
  3. Consideration
  4. Submitting a Claim
  5. Awards
  6. Appeals
  7. Administering an Award
  8. When the Young Person is 18


1. Background

Compensation may be awarded to the victims of crimes of violence, under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Claims may be made by persons with parental responsibility on behalf of children. Where the local authority has parental responsibility, it should consider making a claim if the criteria appears to be met.

When a child is in the care of the local authority under a care order, a claim can be made by the local authority as an exercise of its parental responsibility. When there are other holders of parental responsibility, as a matter of good practice, they should be consulted prior to any application being made unless it is felt that to do so will be to the detriment of the child (for example in circumstances where it is believed parents will not act in the best interests of the child).

Where children are identified through looked after or child protection processes as potentially qualifying for a claim to be made, be they looked after or not, the independent chair should advise accordingly.

Where children are not looked after, the carers of the children should be encouraged to make a claim on their behalf if the criteria is considered met.

To qualify for an award, the victim must have suffered an injury directly attributable to a crime of violence, i.e. a crime committed against them.

Alternatively a person may be eligible for an award if an injury is sustained through being present at/witnessing a crime of violence being committed against a loved one who themselves suffered an injury.

Criminal Injury

A criminal injury means injury of a physical or mental nature, including psychological disturbance, which is directly attributable to the crime of violence. This can include the psychological damage to a person who has witnessed such a crime against a parent/carer or “loved one” as defined by the scheme.

Generally, applications will only be considered within two years of the incident which caused the injury, or in the case of a child under 18:

  1. By the time the young person turns 20; or
  2. Within 2 years of it being reported to the police if later.

Applications may be accepted outside this 2 year period only if, because of the particular circumstances of the case, it is reasonable and in the interests of justice to do so.

It is not necessary to wait until someone has been convicted of the offence before applying for compensation.

The application forms can be filled in online at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority website.

Hard copies can be obtained by telephoning 0300 003 3601.

It is not necessary for the offender to have been convicted of the offence. Claims are assessed on the balance of probabilities, rather than the claimant having to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will however, consider whether all reasonable steps have been taken to bring the offender to justice and may withhold or reduce compensation if this is not the case. This could include a situation where they feel that the victim has not fully cooperated with attempts to prosecute the offender. A claim will not succeed unless the offender has been prosecuted, or there are practical, technical or other good reasons why the prosecution has not been brought.

There is a further consideration if the victim and offender were living in the same household, as members of the same family, at the time of the offence. This is:

  • In the case of violence between adults, compensation will not be paid unless the applicant and the offender stopped living in the same household before the application and are unlikely to do so again;
  • If the victim is a child, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will take particular care in satisfying itself that the offender will not benefit from any award and that making an award will not act against the child's interests.


2. Process

Consultation

A discussion as to whether to apply for compensation should ideally take place at the Child Protection Conference which establishes that the abuse has taken place. If the outcome of the Section 47 Enquiry is not to hold an ICPC the discussion about whether to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority should be part of the outcome of the enquiry discussion and decision making and recorded accordingly.

Where a child is looked after by the local authority then the Independent Reviewing Officer should ensure that due consideration has been given to making an application for criminal injuries compensation at the 28 day statutory review and to record the outcome of the decision whether to apply or not. The Independent Reviewing Officer will then monitor the progress of the claim through the statutory reviewing process.

Where a child is not looked after or is accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, the claim should, wherever appropriate, be made by the parent and the social worker should offer assistance to the parent to do this. Children who are able to understand the purpose of the application should be fully consulted and involved in the process.

Where the local authority holds parental responsibility by virtue of a care order, the social worker, in consultation with the responsible team manager and legal services if advice is required, should make the application.

Applications should always be made as soon as possible and should be made within 2 years of the event giving rise to the claim. However, where the applicant was under 18 at the time of the incident special provision is made regarding timescales as follows:

  • 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. Reports to the police should be made as soon as is reasonably practicable.


3. Consideration of when an application should be made

Has the child/young person suffered an injury, including psychiatric illness?

Note that unless there is an identifiable incident/pattern of incidents that caused a specific injury and can be evidenced, this will not be satisfied. Emotional harm in itself is not sufficient, nor neglect, nor minor physical harm that did not result in injuries.

There is a chance of compensation if such a pattern of abuse occurred and it has resulted in a diagnosed psychiatric illness.

Is the injury/condition included in the tariff of injuries at Appendix E of the 'Guide to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2014'?

Was a crime of violence committed?

A crime of violence is defined by the Scheme as a crime which involves:

  1. Physical attack;
  2. Act / omission of a violent nature which causes physical injury;
  3. A threat causing fear of immediate violence;
  4. Sexual assault – non-consensual; or
  5. Arson / fire-raising.

Was the crime reported to the police? If not it should be immediately if a claim is to be made.

Is the injury directly attributable to the crime of violence?

It is important that causation is established, particularly in the case of psychiatric illness. The Authority will need to be satisfied that the criminal injury is the sole or major cause of the illness. Medical opinion and/or diagnosis will usually be required.

Legal Services may be consulted as part of the above consideration, if advice is required about the interpretation of the criminal injury or the causation element. For reference to the interpretation of the scheme, read 'A Guide to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2014'.

Where a decision is taken to not apply the matter should be re-assessed at subsequent reviews and within the line management of the case (as appropriate). Where circumstances change, for example new more compelling evidence emerges, or the child’s circumstances and/or understanding changes, then a subsequent application should be considered, subject to the timescales outlined above.


4. Submitting a Claim

For applications completed by a social worker it will be necessary to complete the application form online (see Claim compensation for a criminal injury (GOV.UK)).

Although the social worker is responsible for making an application (where NCC has parental responsibility), there is an expectation that other agencies involved in any investigation will provide assistance and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will contact police directly and seek medical information through the applicant where required.

In cases of child abuse within the family the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will need to be satisfied that it would not be against the child's interests to make an award and also that the offender will not benefit (as could happen if the child and offender remain in the same household or maintain a close relationship).

For children not the subject of a care order, the application form when completed should be signed by the parent, as the applicant on behalf of the child. Where the application is being made by NCC on behalf of the child, the application must be considered and signed off by the relevant children’s service manager.

Children over the age of 12 are required to countersign the consent form which CICA will send following receipt of an application.

For children who are subsequently adopted, the responsibility for processing the claim should transfer to the adoptive parent/s as the holders of parental responsibility. Similarly when a child reaches majority and a claim is ongoing, the Authority will need to deal directly with the young person.

The application form requires an overview of the circumstances giving rise to the injury – “Incident Details” – and includes a space to provide brief details of the incident. This should be specific to the incident or chain of incidents that caused the injury for which a claim is being made. There is a separate section for the details of the injury itself, therefore those details are not required in this box.

A copy of the application should be retained on the child's file.


5. Awards

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will in most circumstances hold awards in trust for children and young people payable at age 18. Compensation is usually awarded as a lump sum payment but interim awards can be made when there is a pressing need or where the prognosis is uncertain (see below). The decision will be communicated to the person or authority who made the application on the child's behalf. Children over the age of 12 are required to countersign the form if the award is accepted.


6. Appeals

In the case of looked after children, the team manager in consultation with the relevant service and children’s service manager, if appropriate the child/young person, and if necessary the local authority's legal advisors, should agree whether to accept the award and, if accepted, how to administer the award.

If it is decided not to accept the offer the local authority has a right to appeal on behalf of the child. Any appeal must be made within three months and will be heard by Tribunal. The social worker, in liaison with the local authority's legal advisers should present the case.

In the case of looked after children who appeal against a decision not to grant compensation, the service manager should send a written request which must be made within 56 days for the decision asking for the matter to be reviewed by another claims officer, using the review form sent with the decision. Legal advice should be sought at this stage.

The 56-day time limit may be extended for up to a further 56 days if there are exceptional circumstances which mean that you could not have complied with the time limit. A request for an extension can be made even if the first 56 days have passed.

Any additional supporting evidence should be enclosed.

If the review decision is not accepted, an appeal may be made. The service manager will decide whether to appeal on the basis of advice from Legal Services about reasons for appealing which are likely to be acceptable to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

The Appeal must be made within 90 days of the date of the review decision to the Criminal injuries compensation tribunal (GOV.UK). 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 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.

The review and appeals process can be accessed via the CICA website.

An application for an appeal must be made within 90 days notification of the review decision. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority may extend this time limit if, within the 90 days, it is given good reason to do so. Late applications will only be considered if this would be in the interests of justice. 


7. Administering an Award

Any award will be paid to the child (together with all interest earned) when they are 18 years of age.

The CICA will allow advances on the award if these are needed for the sole benefit, education or welfare of the child or young person. It may be appropriate for the social worker to consider applying for an advance for expenses such as:

  • Extra school holidays or educational trips in addition to normal holidays with foster carers or residential establishment;
  • Purchase of a car, plus tax and insurance;
  • Costs associated with the pursuit and development of particular skills and aptitudes, especially as the child becomes older;
  • Education expenses such as additional tuition or equipment which could not normally be provided.

The CICA gives full guidance about how they manage awards for young people when they make the award offer.

If it seems appropriate to advance money from the award for the child, the social worker will initiate the application by compiling a written report setting out the reasons why the advance is necessary. Wherever possible applications should be made with the agreement of the child and this should be stated within the report. The report must be signed off by the children’s service manager. If the CICA agree to an advance payment then they will normally require evidence, normally a receipt, proving that the advance has been used for the purposes intended. If the CICA do not receive evidence then they will not allow further advances.

The Local Authority will be responsible to maintain contact with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority regarding the child or young person’s contact details.

The award should not be used for the child's day to day requirements or to meet expenses normally met by the Authority, and the use of the award (pre-18 years) should be agreed by the director as the child's trustee.

If the care order is discharged before the child's 18th birthday the CICA must be consulted before trusteeship is altered and any proposed changes of trusteeship will need to satisfy the CICA that the perpetrator will not benefit from the award. Any report to court seeking discharge of a care order before a child's 18th birthday must refer to any award which has been made.


8. When the Young Person is 18

When the young person reaches the age of 18 years, responsibility for handling the money awarded by the CICA will be handed over to him/her unless he/she is felt to be incapable of dealing with it. If the CICA receive evidence that it would not be in the child's best interests to be given the payment as a lump sum at age 18, they may consider the use of an annuity or a trust at that time. If the social worker feels this situation applies then this should be brought to the attention of the children’s service manager who will, following legal advice, inform CICA as soon as possible in advance of the young person’s 18th birthday.

Arrangements should be made for a young person to receive independent financial advice before their 18th birthday. Young people should be cautioned in overall terms about the need to be mindful of the risks attendant to the receipt of the award including the potential risk of others seeking to relieve them of such monies.

It should be noted that the award will be taken into account in respect of all means tested benefits and that the usual saving rules will apply.

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