Over 130 survivors of terror attacks have been surveyed by the support network ‘Survivors Against Terror’. Respondents were from 11 attacks including the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.
Notably, more than 66% of respondents stated that they felt that the CICA scheme is “unfair and unreasonable” with 60% of respondents stating that it was not easy to submit their compensation claim and that the information provided by the CICA was unclear or not easy to understand.
In our experience of handling claims for victims of crime, we know all too well the complications involved with the CICA process. In theory, the Scheme seems straightforward. Each possible injury is given a tariff and as long as you come within the terms of the Scheme, you should have an entitlement to an appropriate tariff award.
Often this is not the case. The vast majority of abuse claims are already “out of time” as there are strict time limits to submit an application.
We act for many clients who are often 20 or 30 years out of time when they initially instruct us. The CICA have a discretion to extend the time limits, as long as certain conditions are satisfied. At Farleys we often help claimants in presenting an exceptional circumstances argument as to why the applicant could not have applied earlier and that evidence available confirms that a claim can be brought without extensive enquiries by a claims officer.
It is important to address the time limit from the outset and we often obtain medical evidence to show why it would have been impossible for a victim to bring the claim at an earlier stage, often because of the psychiatric impact of the abuse/criminal activity.
The CICA can also reject claims on other grounds relating to the facts of the matter and we have experienced particular problems in the context of the Manchester arena terrorist attack.
Farleys submitted a claim to the CICA some three years ago for a victim. The CICA initially refused the claim on various basis’ including the fact that our client was outside the arena when the bomb went off, that he was not the direct victim of the bombing and that he did not have a recognisable psychiatric injury. They also refused the claim on the basis that he was outside the two-year time limit for submitting claims of this nature.
Farleys requested that the CICA reviewed their decision and they maintained their denial. Whilst some points were conceded it was still contended that the applicant was not a direct victim of the bombing. We argued on our client’s behalf that he should be compensated as having taken an exceptional risk in helping the victims of the bombing. We are pleased to report that the appeal was successful and the tribunal accepted that he took an exceptional and justified risk helping the victims of the bombing.
This case study can be read here.
Often claimants can successfully obtain compensation via the CICA. This is not without challenges. Even where successful claimants have obtained an offer of compensation, they may have sufficient grounds to appeal the figure.
For example, recently we were instructed by Client H who had suffered terrible abuse as a child and had been raped repeatedly between the ages of 14-16.
Client H reported the matter to the police and co-operated with a successful prosecution of his abuser. Client H pursued his own CICA claim and received an initial award of £16,500 for the sexual abuse suffered. He then instructed Farleys as he wanted to challenge the CICA.
Client H had worked for the majority of his adult life but the jobs he had worked were short-term and since 2015 had failed to hold down permanent employment. He also contended a permanent psychiatric injury, which the CICA had failed into taken account in their offer.
Farleys accordingly reviewed Client H’s matter before instructing a consultant psychiatrist who produced a report, outlining multiple psychiatric injuries as a result of the abuse. Which were likely to be permanent and of moderate severity.
The applicant’s DWP and HMRC records were obtained and considered and a schedule prepared, outlining the periods of his employment history to date, where he had been unable to work because of psychiatric issues. It was important to establish the times he had received benefits and in particular PIP to support this aspect of the claim.
We also put forward a claim for future loss of earnings. Again, this was complex. It was argued that a period of time would have to be allowed, in order that Client H could undergo intensive treatment. Even after treatment, it was contended that for some of his future working life he would still be unable to work.
Partial future loss of earnings are not often recovered from the CICA. In this case however, on appeal, the Tribunal were prepared to accept that for 25% of the rest of Client H’s working life, he would fall within the scheme and had an entitlement to loss of earnings.
On appeal therefore, Client H was successful on each and every point raised. An offer of £16,500 was increased to a settlement figure of nearly £98,000 as a result of the appeal.
At Farleys we understand the challenges involved with submitting a CICA claim. If you would like to discuss the possibility of making a CICA abuse claim or have received a settlement offer from the CICA which you would like assistance in appealing, our abuse claim specialists are on hand to advise you in confidence. Call our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430, contact us by email, or use the online chat below if you prefer.