Criminal Injuries Compensation: Victims' Payments Scheme

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 13th April 2021.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, prior to Written Ministerial Statement HCWS874 of the 23 March 2021, whether his Department had assessed whether family members of the bereaved or injured would be entitled to the (a) Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme or (b) The Troubles Permanent Disablement Scheme.

Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people affected by Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism who have received compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

I would like to express my profound sympathy for UK victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism, and indeed for all victims of the Troubles.

It is the case that state-funded compensation for victims of violent crime has been in place in Great Britain since 1964, with the first statutory scheme coming into force in 1996. In terms of entitlement, victims can claim compensation for physical and mental injuries they have directly suffered from a violent crime, and for other payments such as for loss of earnings where they cannot work as a result of the injuries sustained. In fatal cases, qualifying relatives (as defined in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme) may be eligible to apply for bereavement payments and continuing care payments for dependants. The rules on entitlement and eligibility apply equally to all violent crime, regardless of the nature of the incident that gave rise to the injury or caused the death of a loved one.

As to the number of people affected by Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism who have received compensation, given the time that has passed since the attacks, limited information is available. This is because, in order to ensure compliance with data protection legislation, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which administers the Scheme, retains minimal information on historical applications to it or its predecessor, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Further, when making an application to the GB-wide Scheme, victims are compensated for the injuries they have sustained rather than the nature of the incident (with the exception of sexual assault or abuse). To support consistent decision-making, the CICA may record the nature of the incident where it has identified the potential for multiple applications in relation to the same circumstances. However, unless an applicant clearly states that they obtained their injuries from a terrorist attack, or this is mentioned in the police report, the CICA will not have this information.

Publicly funded support has also been made available to victims of the Troubles who are eligible for the Troubles Permanent Disablement Scheme. We recognise that there is a wider issue around the suitability of arrangements to make payments to the bereaved in Northern Ireland, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has encouraged the Northern Ireland Executive to consider what more could be done to help.

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