CICA reform proposals punish victims of crime07 December 2005
Tom Jones, partner at Thompsons Solicitors, which represents people injured at work by crime, warns that the Home Office proposals to abolish the lower levels of compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme will punish and alienate victims.
"Emotional and practical support, as being proposed by the government, are important. But practical support must also mean financial support for, say, loss of earnings due to the injuries caused by the criminal act. If someone is injured at work due to employer negligence, they can claim compensation for loss of earnings and other losses, on their employer's insurance.
But someone who is assaulted at work, and the result is an injury such as fractures, trauma, or permanent scarring, but there is no negligence on the part of their employer, then they will be unable to claim a penny, according to these proposals.
"Compensation doesn't make up for the assault. But it does represent an acknowledgement by society of what has happened to them, and will assist with resulting loss and expenses. Society needs to decide whether it is right to pay compensation only if an injury is judged to be worth more than the levels of the CICA tariff that the government is proposing to abolish," says Mr Jones.
"The government risks alienating the very people who it claims it wants to engage with the political system - low paid workers such as NHS workers and shop workers who are assaulted at work. It needs to put more money into the criminal injuries compensation system, not take money from one set of victims and give it to another."
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