The Office for National Statistics reported that there were over 1.2 million incidents of violent crime in the year ending March 2020. It is a sad reality that many individuals become victims to violent crime every day and this can have profound effects both physically and mentally.

However, we often do not consider the grave effects that witnessing such acts of violence can have on individuals. Simply witnessing violent crime can lead to depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, amongst a long list of other psychiatric illnesses that can negatively impact a person’s day-to-day life for a substantial period of time.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme makes provision for those who were not direct victims of violent crime, but who were present and witness to an incident in which a loved one sustained a criminal injury, to be awarded compensation. The individual must have also suffered psychological harm as a result of the incident.

Under paragraph 6 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012, “a person may be eligible for an award if they sustain a criminal injury in a relevant place, which is directly attributable to being present at and witnessing an incident, or the immediate aftermath of an incident, as a result of which a loved one sustained a criminal injury.”

For the purposes of the scheme, a “criminal injury” is a mental or physical injury sustained as a result of a crime of violence.

There is no legal definition of “a crime of violence”. It typically involves a physical attack. However, examples of attacks that may constitute a crime of violence include, but are not limited to: physical/sexual assault, wounding, instances were an animal was deliberately set on an individual with the intent of causing injury and crimes of arson.

The CICA deems the term “aftermath” to mean events that happened straight after the incident. Therefore, although an individual may not have been present during the incident were a loved one was killed/injured, they may still be entitled to an award from the CICA if they were involved in the “immediate aftermath” of the incident. “Immediate aftermath” constitutes arriving at the incident straight after it occurred and suffering mental injury as a result.

Furthermore, the term “loved one” is defined under the scheme as a person with whom the applicant:

(a) at the time of the incident had a close relationship of love and affection; and

(b) if the loved one is alive at the date of the application.

Pursuing a CICA claim as a witness can be complex. The CICA consider a variety of factors in determining whether a witness should be awarded compensation, such as the relationship between the direct victim and the witness and whether the individual may be deemed as present and witness to the “immediate aftermath” of an incident, which can make securing an award challenging. However, Farleys has a dedicated team that specialises in Criminal Injury Compensation Authority Claims of this nature.

If you are interested in pursuing a CICA claim. Please contact our dedicated team by calling us on 0330 134 6430, complete our online contact from, or use our live chat below.