Q: I was on my way home from work in May when I was jumped by two men who beat me up and stole my money, leaving me with a scar across the top of my face and a couple of broken ribs. I reported the incident to the police but they never found the men so I can’t sue them for my injuries. I would like to make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority but I’m worried what might happen because I have a previous unspent conviction for common assault, which I received a fine for. Can I still make a claim?
A: It’s certainly worth looking into. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an organisation that provides compensation to victims of violent crime. It does however have guidelines for dealing with such claims and you are right in thinking that your criminal conviction is relevant. CICA may reduce or withhold an award unless there are exceptional circumstances.
In my experience the CICA is particularly careful about awarding compensation to people who have convictions for violent crimes, given that the organisation’s main purpose is to compensate victims of violence.
Whilst the above should not deter you from making a claim you should certainly keep it in the back of your mind that your claim may not be successful. It is therefore crucial that your application is as accurate and robust as possible. It would be advisable for you to seek advice from a lawyer who has experience in dealing with such claims and who can advise you on the potential success of making a CICA claim as well as completing your application to ensure you have the best chances of succeeding. Depending on the prospects of success you may be eligible to have your case taken on a No-Win, No-Fee basis.
(Article published 07/08/2017)