Victims of violent crime have just days to lodge a claim before sweeping cuts to future awards take effect
Campaigners against imminent cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme have warned victims of violent crime they have just days left to lodge a claim before sweeping cuts to future awards take effect.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has confirmed that a revised scheme will come into force on Tuesday 27 November.
Critics say the vast majority of innocent victims of violent crime will either no longer qualify for any compensation or the amount they could receive for their injuries will be slashed.
It follows Monday’s House of Commons vote in which Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs approved the revised scheme.
According to Usdaw, which has campaigned against the changes, nearly 90% of victims of violent crime will no longer qualify for compensation or will have the award substantially reduced.
Injuries such as permanent speech impairment, broken ribs, epileptic seizures brought on by the trauma of an attack or some burns and scarring will no longer be eligible for any compensation, say critics.
People who suffer punctured or collapsed lungs, permanent brain injury, broken elbows, knees or vertebra will have any compensation reduced by up to 60%.
The scheme currently awards compensation to between 30,000 and 40,000 people each year who are seriously injured following a crime of violence and who cannot obtain recompense from any other source, such as their assailant.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary said: “The decision of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to support these cuts means that many injured victims of crime are going to suffer financially as well as physically.
“None of the MPs who supported the cuts should ever again have the gall to say they put victims of crime first.
“The entire process of making the cuts has been a shameful and frankly grubby episode in the exercise of government, one made all the more shocking because it’s innocent victims of violent crime who are going to suffer.
“The government should do much more to make victims aware of the changes, but I suspect its silence reflects the weakness of its own case for the cuts and the inherent embarrassment of highlighting them.
“Usdaw urges anyone who has been injured in the course of a crime to submit an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as soon as possible and by 26 November at the latest.”
New conditions for loss of earnings payments will limit them to the level of Statutory Sick Pay, currently £85 a week.
In addition, payments will also be limited to those who are never able to work again, or only in a severely reduced capacity.
Compensation for loss of earnings will also be denied to any victims with a broken work record during the previous three years.
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