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Hands off the CICA

  • October 25, 2012
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There are plans afoot to shake up the system whereby victims of violent crimes are awarded compensation, from the state pocket, for their injuries and some financial losses. By shake up I mean increasing the minimum level of severity of injury required before an award is made and so denying those who have sustained low level of injury.

So what constitutes a low level of injury ? Proposals so far would seem to indicate that a broken jaw is a low level of injury. This is an idea put forward by someone who has clearly never gone out for a quiet pint and had their jaw smashed by a random drunk for looking at their pint in a funny way.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme has been running fine since 1964 and it should be left alone, if anything the awards should be increased to keep up with inflation not slashed to offset the deficit caused by years of bad government.

A society is judged by the way it treats its old, young and infirm add to this their punched, smacked, stabbed, shot and raped and we have a place that we may consider a civilised place to live.

The argument that the convicted criminal should make payment and not the taxpayer is as ludicrous as it is simple.  There are a number of incidents whereby the perpetrator would not be able to pay:

  • They are dead – even bad people die
  • They cannot be traced – you don’t need a conviction to secure an award
  • They don’t have any money – most criminals don’t have the resources to make payment

The Magistrates Court can order that financial reparation be made but such awards are low and are meant as really an ancillary to the conviction and rarely go anywhere near the level of loss sustained also, due to the impecunity of the defendant, the Court often orders payment over a prolonged period of time. Awards can run into may thousands and it would be unreasonable to expect an award to be paid at £5.00 per month by a convicted mugger.

I have dealt with many applicants to the CICA over the years and it is sometimes the only way that victims of violent crime can get any measure of satisfaction not only with regards to the financial payment but also it restores theory faith in a better society. There is no need for a conviction in a CICA matter; one needs only to show that, on a balance of probability that the incident occurred, as opposed to the ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ burden of proof required in civil cases so often, and in the main, a rape victim where there is no conviction can get some degree of solace and comfort from the fact that the people, via the CICA, recognise their plight and make due recompense.

As I say a society is judged by the way it treats its victims and those that need its support; don’t let the government undermine this fundamental tenant of our country and contact your MP and ask that they oppose any proposed changes to the CICA scheme. You can find out who your MP is at this site.

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