Compensation for victims of crime
2015-10-01 16:12:35 -
Human Rights
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Know Your Rights with Femi Dantean

 
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), burglary and related offences rose by eight per cent for the 12-month period ending in March 2015. A similar rise was also observed in other offences such as threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences.
 
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to compensation for what has happened to you. In some criminal prosecutions, the court may decide that an offender must pay compensation to you. This may be one of a number of conditions that the court may impose on the offender so that he or she can avoid a prison sentence.
 
 
Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted

If you are injured as a result of a crime, you may be eligible for compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted. This scheme is funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
 
The scheme pays compensation for expenses and losses suffered either as a direct result of a violent crime or while assisting or trying to assist in preventing a crime or saving a human life.
 
The injured person (ie the victim) or, if that person has died, the immediate family of the victim can claim compensation under the scheme. If you are responsible for looking after the victim and are out-of-pocket as a result of his or her injuries, you may claim compensation.
 
 
Time limit for making a claim

There is no time limit for making a claim in cases where the victim has died as a result of the injury inflicted. In all other cases the time limit for making a claim is three months. However, sometimes the tribunal will not impose the time limit if you can give a reasonable explanation for the delay in making the application for compensation.
 
 
Appealing the decision of the tribunal

If the original decision was made by the secretary of the tribunal, you can appeal that decision to a single member of the tribunal. If you are unhappy with the decision of a single member of the tribunal, you may appeal it to an informal hearing by three members of the tribunal. You must present your case before the tribunal; you may have legal representation if you wish, but this will be at your own expense. The decision of the three-member tribunal is final.
 
 
Exceptions to the scheme
 
The tribunal is not obliged to compensate you under the following circumstances:
- You do not give reasonable assistance to the tribunal.
- You and the assailant were living together as part of the same household when you suffered the injury.
- Your injury is the result of a traffic offence, unless the tribunal decides that there was a deliberate attempt to run you down.
- The loss is less than €63.49.
 
 
What amount of compensation is awarded?
 
The scheme only covers out-of-pocket expenses and bills. It doesn’t compensate you for pain and suffering. When deciding the amount of the award, the tribunal will consider any social welfare payments, salary or wages you received while on sick leave from work. The tribunal will also take into account any compensation paid by or on behalf of the assailant.
 
The tribunal may reduce the amount of compensation or give no compensation at all if it takes the view that you were partly or wholly to blame for the incident. An example of a situation where the tribunal may reduce the amount of compensation awarded to the victim is where the victim provoked the incident. It may also reduce the amount of compensation because of your behaviour, character or way of life. If you have a criminal record, it can be taken into consideration.
 
 
Death of the victim due to criminal injury
 
The family will be paid the actual loss of earnings and expenses that may have been incurred before the death, future of the victim. The payment may also cover loss of support or maintenance for anyone who was dependent on the victim at the time of his death.
 
 
Death of the victim not due to the criminal injury
 
If the victim died of causes unrelated to the criminal injury, the family will not be compensated unless the tribunal considers that this would cause hardship to the dependants of the victim.
 
 
Stolen or damaged property
 
It is important to note that the scheme does not compensate for stolen or damaged property, except medically necessary items like eyeglasses or artificial limbs.
 
 
If you have been the victim of a crime, please get in touch with your solicitor or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, as you may be entitled to compensation. You can download the Fatal Application Form or the Non-Fatal Application Form from the tribunal’s website.
 
 
Femi Daniyan is a barrister and founder/president of the Afro-Irish Organisation, a human rights organisation
TAGS : Crime Victim Compensation Know Your Rights Femi Dantean Department of Justice and Equality Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal Scheme of Compensation
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