Domestic Abuse Victims: Two Year Wait for Compensation
The latest government statistics show that domestic abuse victims have to wait an average of nearly two years to receive compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
The CICA is the government body that awards compensation to people who have been blameless victims of violent crimes, both physical and mental.
The CICA customer charter states that applicants can expect to wait up to twelve months to receive compensation. However, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), its most recent figures revealed that it takes an average of 612 days, or 20 months, for the CICA to pay out.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, expressed his concern over the delays:
“It is truly sickening that victims of domestic violence are treated with such utter disregard.
“Domestic violence is still horribly common, and the fact that so many women, and some men, suffer from these crimes and are then let down by the government in their time of need, is an indication of the shamelessness of this Tory government. These delays must end immediately and this department must be properly resourced. No excuses are acceptable.”
Delay could be ‘beneficial’
Justice minister Phillip Lee revealed the statistics in a written answer to Fiona Haggart, Labour MP and a member of the all-party parliamentary group on domestic violence. Lee added that more than 230 victims received compensation in 2016, with a minimum payout of £1000. The average payout for a domestic abuse victim if £7,500.
Lee went on to say that in some cases a delay could prove beneficial to the victim, as it would allow assessment of long-term implications of any injuries or mental health issues:
“In some complex cases, where medical treatment is ongoing or the level of recovery is unknown, it may be in the best interests of an applicant not to settle their claim until the long-term implications of an injury can be properly assessed.”
Attempts to improve efficiency
According to the MoJ, CICA has developed an online portal and increased staff levels by around 15% in order to improve efficiency.
Since November 2016, victims have had the option to give declarations online or verbally agree to a statement over the phone. CICA said this method would reduce the time between a declaration and a decision.
Recently the government have moved to reduce the amount of stress felt by domestic abuse victims when it comes to dealing with the legal process. Following the acquittal of Ched Evans, former Sheffield United footballer convicted of rape in 2011, based on evidence given by his accuser’s former partner’s a campaign was launched by women’s rights and victim support groups. The campaign has led to new legislative measures preventing victims from being interrogated in court by former partner’s.
Abuse & criminal injury claims – expert advice
If you have been affected by any instance of physical or non-physical abuse, contact us today. We offer expert advice on abuse and sexual assault claims, and we guarantee your confidentiality at all times.
For further information, and to discover how we could help you, begin a conversation with our experienced and friendly team. Call 0800 888 6 888 or email [email protected].