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Compensation if you've experienced domestic abuse

If you have been injured as a result of domestic abuse, you can apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation.

Who can apply for compensation?

If you have experienced domestic violence, you can apply for compensation provided that the following apply:

  • You are no longer living with the violent person and are unlikely to live with them again in the future (although this does not apply if you are under the age of 16).
  • You reported the violence to the police as soon as you could.
  • You cooperated with the police investigation and attended court if necessary.
  • Your partner was prosecuted for the crime (unless there is a good reason why this couldn't happen).
  • You didn't do anything to provoke the incident.
  • The incident took place in Scotland, England or Wales.
  • You make a claim for compensation within two years of the date you were injured (although it's possible that your claim will be considered if you have a very good reason for not applying earlier).
  • There is no likelihood that a violent partner would benefit if an award were made.

You can only apply for compensation for the same incident once.

The CICA website has more information on how to find out if you are eligible to make a claim.

What can I be compensated for?

You can apply for compensation for:

  • physical and mental injuries that resulted from violent crime
  • loss of earnings or future loss of earnings as a result of the crime (provided you were unable to work for at least 28 weeks after receiving the injury)
  • any other expenses incurred, for example, dental or medical bills. You can only claim for these 'special' expenses if you were incapacitated for longer than 28 weeks as a result of the incident.

How do I apply?

To apply for compensation, you'll need to fill in a form from the CICA. You can get this form by calling 0800 358 3601 or writing to:

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Tay House
300 Bath Street
Glasgow, G2 4LN

You can also download the form from the CICA website.

What happens after I've sent in my application?

The CICA will acknowledge receipt of your form and will then investigate your situation, for example, by contacting the police for a report and speaking to your doctor or any hospitals attended. This process can take around a year to complete.

The CICA needs to be satisfied that your injuries were the result of violent crime. This doesn't need to be established 'beyond all reasonable doubt'; the CICA simply needs to believe that it is more likely than not that this is the case. This means that even if your partner was acquitted at their trial because the prosecution couldn't prove 'beyond all reasonable doubt' that they committed the crime, you may still be offered compensation because it's more likely than not that they did.

When the CICA has completed its inquiries, it will write to you to let you know whether you are entitled to an award of compensation and, if so, how much you will get. If you are entitled to an award, you should receive payment within four weeks.

How does the CICA decide how much compensation to offer?

The CICA uses a tariff scheme to work out how much compensation you should get. Each injury is categorised and assigned a compensatory value. For example a fractured finger is 'worth' £1,000 while paralysis or loss of your whole arm is valued at £33,000. You can claim for more than one injury, but will only receive the maximum amount for the most severe injury, and then 30 percent of the compensatory value of any other injuries.

The minimum amount of compensation you can receive is £1,000, which means that for you to be eligible, your injuries must be 'worth' at least £1,000 according to the tariff. The maximum award you can receive for injuries is £250,000, although this may increase to £500,000 if you claim for loss of earnings and special expenses as well. The CICA website has a tariff calculator you can use to work out how much compensation you may receive for your injuries.

What if I'm not happy with the CICA's decision?

If you're not happy with the decision or with the amount of compensation offered, you can ask for a review to be carried out by a senior officer at the CICA. If you're not happy with the outcome of the review, you have a right to appeal.

If you're not happy with the way you have been treated, you can complain to the CICA's customer service department or the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

The CICA website has more information on reviews, appeals and complaints.

Where can I get help and advice?

You don't need a lawyer in order to claim compensation from the CICA, although you can of course get legal advice if you choose. Bear in mind that you won't be able to include any legal costs as 'special expenses' when you make your claim.

The CICA website has more detailed advice and information on making a claim. You can get support and help filling in the claim form at your local branch of Victim Support Scotland. Visit their website or call the freephone helpline on 08456 03 92 13 to find out more. You can also get advice from your local Citizens Advice.

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