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4.1.7 Criminal Injuries Compensation

This chapter was added to the manual in May 2018.


  1. Eligibility
  2. Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
  3. Conducting Claims for/by Children

1. Eligibility

All children who are victims of offences of violence, committed within or outside the family, may be entitled to criminal injuries compensation, whether or not there has been a prosecution or conviction, including where there is no visible physical injury (e.g. sexual assault).

Fresh guidelines have been issued to ensure that child victims of sexual abuse are not denied compensation on the mistaken grounds that they consented to a relationship.

2. Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has a duty to compensate fairly all those who suffer personal injuries directly attributable to a crime of violence. Legal aid may be available to assist in submitting applications and deciding whether or not to accept any award.

The CICA operates according to the following conditions:

  • There is a minimum award and the injury must be serious enough to award this minimum compensation payment;
  • The incident should have been reported to the police. CICA may withhold or reduce compensation if an applicant did not take, without delay, all reasonable steps to inform the police or another appropriate authority of the circumstances of the injury;
  • There is a two year limitation period on making a claim after the incident, unless CICA exercises its discretion to 'allow an application out of time' (in the case of child abuse, CICA may be sympathetic to applications no matter how long ago the incident occurred);
  • CICA is concerned always to make awards which take into account the best interests of the victim;
  • Where a child and the person causing the injuries are living in the same household (e.g. as members of the same family) at the time of the injuries, compensation will only be paid where the person responsible has been prosecuted (unless there are good reasons why not) and CICA is assured that the offender will not benefit from the award;
  • Following from this, CICA may appoint trustees to hold the compensation for the benefit of the child, making such provisions for maintenance and education as necessary.

Further information about CICA and an application form can be obtained from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (GOV.UK), or on 0800 358 3601 or from Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4LN.

3. Conducting Claims for/by Children

Looked after children

Where the local authority holds parental responsibility, the social worker should help the child make the claim or initiate the claim on the child's behalf. The form should be completed by the child's social worker and approved by the District Safeguarding Manager

The local authority's power to make a claim on behalf of a child is limited to children who are the subject of a Care Order.

At the conclusion of care proceedings, the possibility of an application to the CICA must always be considered by the Social Worker and LGSS lawyer. Where the proceedings result in the child not being a Looked After Child (e.g. Special Guardianship) the future carer should, where appropriate, be advised to apply on behalf of the child.

The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) must discuss the appropriateness of a claim at the first review following the conclusion of care proceedings, if not before, and record clearly the decision regarding the appropriateness of making a claim. The progress of any claim must be monitored at subsequent reviews until completion.

If an application is rejected, the social worker should discuss with their line manager taking legal advice about a possible appeal to CICA (Contact Principal Litigation Lawyer at LGSS)

If an award is made, legal advice should be considered in relation to the level of payment before this is accepted.

Payment of compensation is usually by a single lump sum, but if the medical situation is unclear, one or more interim payments may be made.

Where the recipient is under 18 years, 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 agree to advance money from the award if this is needed for the child's sole benefit, education or welfare (i.e. not for general spending money). They may also consider making a full payment if the child is 16 or 17 years of age and living independently. The CICA will need evidence (normally receipts) proving that the money has been used for the purposes intended. Without this, they are unlikely to allow any further advances.

Where a child is looked after but the local authority does not have parental responsibility, the child's social worker should approach the person with parental responsibility, if it is appropriate to do so, and inform them of their right to make a claim on behalf of the child and assist them in doing so. Here, the IRO must check that this has been considered and the outcome of the discussion recorded.

If such a discussion is inappropriate (for example because the person with parental responsibility caused the injuries, or is cohabiting with the person who did, or the person with parental responsibility does not initiate the claim), the social worker should refer the child to a solicitor or to Victim Support for advice and assistance with a claim.

Children not looked after

A child who has been the subject of a Child Protection Conference may be eligible to apply for an award. Social Care should give the child and/or their parent(s) advice and guidance about making a claim.

When a child is not looked after or where the offence did not give rise to a Child Protection Conference, the Police are responsible for advising the child and/or their parent(s) that they could make a criminal injuries compensation claim.