Violent Crimes and Compensation – What is the CICA?

5 minute read

Police tape with blurred lights in background

The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 1.6% of adults aged 16 years and over were a victim of violent crime in the year ending March 2020. The police recorded 1.8 million violence against the person offences in the same year, of which ‘violence with injury’ accounted for 31%, or 540,502 offences.

Each of these statistics has its own story to tell, and some violent crimes cause significant injuries.

Since criminal injury can have a big impact on people, compensation sometimes forms part of the road to recovery.

What is CICA?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government authority that deals with compensation claims from people who have been physically or mentally injured by a violent crime in the UK.

This agency of the Ministry of Justice deals with 30,000 compensation claims for criminal injuries each year.

Examples of CICA claims

People can make claims for criminal injury compensation through the CICA. A CICA claim might be for:

  • A physical attack or assault, including as part of domestic abuse
  • A sexual assault or rape
  • Arson
  • Threats of violence that lead to psychological injury.

You can sometimes make a CICA claim for the after-effects of an attack or assault, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

However, there are strict evidence rules. For such a claim to be considered, you may need evidence linking the condition to the crime. This must come from:

  • A psychiatrist, or
  • A clinical psychologist.


Violent crime, head injuries and making a CICA claim

One of the most common injuries caused by violent criminal acts are head injuries – since the impacts can be severe, many people seek compensation.

A head injury might arise from a primary impact, such as being struck with a blunt object, or from the secondary impact of falling to the ground. These often result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which, although invisible, can be life changing.

The symptoms can be subtle, and they are complex injuries to diagnose. Careful consideration may help to ensure that a person’s injuries are understood well enough so that they receive compensation that reflects any changes to their needs.

Classifying brain injuries for CICA claims

TBIs are often classified based on the severity of the injury. One of the most common classifications is the Mayo Classification System, which divides TBIs into three categories:

  • Possible brain injury
  • Mild brain injury
  • Moderate-severe brain injury.

These categories are based on various signs and symptoms, including loss of consciousness and post-traumatic amnesia, along with physical symptoms such as blurred vision, confusion, headaches and seizures.

Even if you sustain what is classified as a possible or mild TBI, such as post-concussion syndrome, this can still be a serious injury.

The CICA scheme has its own tariff to classify these injuries, but it follows a similar range of classifications. These span from minor head injury to very serious brain injury.

Criminal injuries compensation: Mark’s CICA claim story

To make a CICA claim, some simply log an application with the authority, while others employ a little specialist help.

 Recently we acted for Mark (not his real name), who was injured when he was unexpectedly struck by a vehicle while walking through town. The collision was proven to be intentional, making it a crime of violence.

As a result of the criminal injury, Mark sustained:

  • Significant scarring to his head
  • Ongoing problems with thinking and understanding
  • Personality changes
  • Reduced ability to work.

On the initial application to the CICA, they awarded Mark £3,000 for his scarring. We requested a review, as this did not include any compensation for his brain injury.

The CICA then awarded Mark an increased award compensation value of £23,050 for the scarring and minor brain damage. However, we still did not think this showed an understanding of the ongoing symptoms and difficulties that he now faced, and so we appealed the decision.

Following a hearing with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, we were successful in proving that Mark had sustained moderate brain damage. As a result, the award was increased to £56,050. This is an example of how specialist serious and criminal injury solicitors can sometimes help to secure more valuable CICA pay-outs.

Injuries and symptoms can be overlooked, but an experienced lawyer can help victims to get the right amount of compensation from the CICA scheme.

CICA claims: How to make an application

To file a criminal injury claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, go to the government’s CICA application page.

Here, you’ll fill in details about the crime, including:

  • Your crime reference number
  • Your medical contact details
  • Information about your criminal record (if you have one).

If your case is complex or you’ve already made attempts to claim and feel unsatisfied with the award, you can also contact us to discuss making a criminal injury compensation claim through a solicitor.

CICA claims: Key questions

How much CICA Compensation will I get?

How much compensation you might receive through a CICA claim depends on the nature of the criminal injury or injuries and their impact on you – pay-outs are banded from £1,000 to £50,000.

If there are multiple injuries stemming from the same criminal act, the most severe is often more heavily weighted into the compensation value. A maximum of three injuries will be considered.

If you need extra care or face employment difficulties because of the violent event, these things can be factored into a case for compensation.

CICA claims: Should you accept the first offer?

Some CICA compensation offers may not match the criminal injury you’ve faced – for instance, if a key aspect of the injury hasn’t been factored in. If you feel this is the case, it’s sometimes possible to get a more appropriate payout through an experienced solicitor.

In complex cases, legal representation may help to bring the reassurance that your case has been fought from all angles.

Stay aware that there is a two-year time limit for CICA claims – a professional can also help you to navigate the law surrounding this.

Can I make both a CICA and a civil claim?

 You can make a claim through both the CICA and a civil court following a violent or criminal injury. That said, success in a civil claim means you may need to pay the money you’ve already won back to the CICA – each incident can only be compensated once.

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