Victims of violent crime can claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority after reporting the crime to the police.
Experiencing an assault or another form of violence has a lasting effect on the victim, but witnessing the violent event can also have a lasting impact on any witnesses. The memories can also be traumatic for the bystanders.
Can You Claim Compensation if You Witness a Crime?
Innocent bystanders sometimes get caught up in a crime either as a witness or trying to help the victim.
Witnesses of violence will often be in shock at what they have seen, and as time goes by they may experience negative effects on their mental health, which can also affect their physical health.
If you experience psychological damage resulting from witnessing a crime, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you could claim financial compensation for criminal injury yourself. You can also claim if it affected your ability to work and earn a living.
How to Prove Criminal Injury as a Witness
It is easier for a direct victim of criminal violence with a physical injury to claim compensation than it is for a witness of a crime to claim for psychological injury.
However, this should not deter witnesses from applying. In order to claim successfully as a witness to a crime, you will need to be able to prove that you have suffered from psychological harm which impacted your quality of life.
To do this, it will be necessary to visit your GP for a referral to appropriate services and a professional diagnosis. You should also keep personal records of the impact.
How to Claim Compensation as Crime Witness
The CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) is responsible for assessing claims and awarding compensation for criminal injuries. The minimum payment is £1,000, rising up to £500,000 for the most severe criminal injuries.
The CICA will assess the extent of your injury and consider your relationship to the victim. You must apply to the CICA within 2 years of reporting the crime to the police.
The crime does not have to go to court or secure a conviction for the victims and witnesses to be able to submit a claim to the CICA and receive compensation.
*This is a collaborative post.