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3.14.4 Criminal Injuries Compensation


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 whom Children’s Services has the parental responsibility and the process which must be followed in order to proceed with the claim.

For Further information please visit the Justice website/cica.


This chapter was updated in December 2015 in relation to the timescales for the process of applying, (see Section 2, Process, ‘Making a Claim’).


  1. Background
  2. Process

1. Background

Compensation is available to the victims of crimes of violence, under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Claims can be made by persons with parental responsibility on behalf of children. Where the local authority has parental responsibility, it has a duty to consider making a claim in appropriate circumstances. Where a child is accommodated by the local authority a claim can be made by the local authority, even where a parent declines to do so.

To qualify for an award, the victim must have suffered ‘personal injury’ attributable to a crime of violence, or someone must have neglected them or failed to protect them from an act of violence.

It is important to be clear which of the two categories the claim is being made under, as there are differing qualifying periods within which claims can be made.

Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury means injury of a physical or mental nature, including shock or psychological disturbance, which is directly attributable to the crime of violence. This can include the psychological damage to a child who has witnessed such a crime against a parent or carer.

Generally applications will only be considered within 2 years of the incident which caused the injury.

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.

Conditions for Claims

The application forms can be filled in on line at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority website. Hard copies can be obtained by telephoning 0800 358 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 Board 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.

There are further conditions if the victim and offender were living in the same household as members of the same family at the time of the offence. These are:

  • That the offender has been prosecuted, or there are practical, technical or other good reasons why the prosecution has not been brought; and
  • In the case of violence between adults, that the applicant and the offender stopped living in the same household before the applications and are unlikely to do so again. This does not apply if the victim was a child, but in this case 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

Making a Claim

A decision as to whether or not to apply for compensation should ideally be made 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 Initial Child Protection Conference the decision to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Board should be discussed as 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.

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.

Applications should always be made as soon as possible and in general,  must 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.

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. Where circumstances change, for example new more compelling evidence emerges, and then a subsequent application should be considered, subject to the timescales outlined above.

Where the application is to be made by the Directorate it will be necessary to complete the application form online. (Applicants who do not have access to a computer or would like help to complete their application can ask a member of the CICA's staff to complete the form over the telephone - 0300 003 3601).

Read 'A Guide to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012'.

You should also seek advice from the Legal Department at this time.

The application should include a Social Worker Report which gives a general history paying particular attention to the circumstances relevant to the injury. The following should be included:

  • The child's name and date of birth, including a copy of the birth certificate;
  • Family details and relationships;
  • A brief family history;
  • A brief history of the child to date;
  • The child's present circumstances, including a copy of the Care Order if appropriate;
  • The child's circumstances at the time of the injury;
  • The action taken;
  • Whether or not prosecution took place and if not, why not;
  • The dates and places of any medical examinations, psychological or psychiatric assessments, education reports and any other relevant reports. Indicate which of these are to be enclosed with the application;
  • A pen picture of the child at the present time;
  • If appropriate, the child's view of the injury. This child may wish to write about this him/herself;
  • The Parents' and Carers' view of the injury;
  • An estimate of the present and future effect of the injury on the child in terms of his/her physical, emotional and psychological state, relationships, health, mobility etc;
  • Future plans, including the prospect of the child being re-united with the offender;
  • Any other relevant information and wherever possible Medical and/or psychological reports, Police Reports, School Reports and any other relevant information.

Where the claim is being made following an incident of abuse, Children's Services are responsible for making an application. However the assistance of the other agencies involved in any investigation is expected.

In cases of child abuse within the family the Criminal Injuries Board will require a full explanation on the child's behalf. The Board 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).

The application should not contain copies of Child Protection Conference minutes or reports. Where the local authority's Legal Advisers have been involved, they should be asked for written information in support of the claim.

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 the Directorate, the form when complete should be forwarded to the Head of Service for signature.

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

In the case of Looked After Children who appeal against a decision not to grant Criminal Injuries Compensation,the Head of Service can 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.

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 Head of Service 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 First-tier Tribunal (Criminal Injuries Compensation). 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
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.

Note: 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. 

Accepting an Award

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has since 2008 held all awards in trust for children and young people. 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. The Board's decision will be communicated to the person or Authority who made the application on the child's behalf

In the case of Looked After Children, the Team Manager in consultation with the Head of Regulated Services and the local authority's legal advisers, 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.

Administering an Award

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has since 2008 held all awards in trust for children and young people. The 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 Head of Service. 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.

If a child is in care, the Local Authority will be responsible to maintain contact with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority regarding the Child or Young person’s contact details.

Any awards that were made prior to 2008 the Local Authority is responsible for the investment and administration of the award and the Head of Regulated Services and the Director as the Child's trustee need to be contacted with regard to any payments or changes of circumstances for the young person.

The award should not be used for the child's day to day requirements or to meet expenses normally met by the Directorate, and the use of the award should be agreed by the Director as the Child's trustee. The same process for advancing money from the award to the child will be used in pre 2008 cases; however the decision to allow an advance will rest with the Director as the Child’s trustee with delegated responsibility given to the Assistant Director.

If the Care Order is revoked before the child's 18th birthday the Board must be consulted before trusteeship is altered and any proposed changes of trusteeship will need to satisfy the Board that the perpetrator will not benefit from the award. Any Report to Court seeking revocation of a Care Order before a child's 18th birthday must refer to any Award which has been made.

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.

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.