Victims and compensation
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to compensation for what has happened to you. There are 2 types of compensation for victims.
In some cases, the court may decide that an offender must pay compensation to you. This may be one of a number of conditions that the court has imposed on the offender so that he or she can avoid a prison sentence. The court may ask the Probation Service to supervise the payment of the compensation.
Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted
If you are injured as a result of a crime, you may be eligible for compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted. This scheme is funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
Compensation in cross-border cases
If you are injured as a result of a crime while visiting another EU member state, you should contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal for advice on making a claim for compensation to the member state where the incident took place. There is more information on the Tribunal's website.
What does the scheme of compensation cover?
The scheme pays compensation for expenses and losses suffered
- As a direct result of a violent crime or
- While assisting or trying to assist in preventing a crime or saving a human life.
Who can claim compensation?
The injured person (the victim) or, if that person has died, the immediate family of the victim can claim compensation under the scheme.
If you are responsible for looking after the victim and are out-of-pocket as a result of his or her injuries, you may claim compensation.
Time limit for making a claim
There is no time limit for making a claim in cases where the victim has died as a result of the injury inflicted, in all other cases the time limit for making a claim is three months. However, sometimes the tribunal will not impose the time limit if you can give a reasonable explanation for the delay.
An Garda Siochana
In all cases, the tribunal will look for a Garda report on the crime. The crime should be reported to the Gardai as soon as possible. If you leave too long a delay in reporting the crime you may not be considered for compensation unless the tribunal is happy that you have co-operated fully with the Gardai.
You do not need legal representation when you apply for compensation. The tribunal will not pay your legal expenses.
Usually, your application will be dealt with on the basis of your application form and you do not have to actually appear in front of the tribunal. If your claim is for less than €317, the Secretary of the Tribunal can deal with it.
Appealing the decision of the tribunal
If the original decision was made by the Secretary of the Tribunal, you can appeal that decision to a single member of the tribunal.
If you are unhappy with the decision of a single member of the tribunal, you may appeal it to an informal hearing by 3 members of the tribunal.
You must present your case before the tribunal, although you may have legal representation at your own expense if you wish. The decision of the 3-member tribunal is final.
Exceptions to the scheme
No compensation will be paid
- if the loss is less than €63.49
- if you and the assailant were living together as part of the same household when you suffered the injury
- if your injury is the result of a traffic offence, unless the tribunal decides that there was a deliberate attempt to run you down
- if you do not give reasonable assistance to the tribunal.
How much compensation will be awarded?
The scheme only covers out-of-pocket expenses and bills. It doesn't compensate you for pain and suffering.
When deciding the amount of the award, the tribunal will consider any social welfare payments, salary or wages you received while on sick leave from work. The tribunal will also take into account any compensation paid by or on behalf of the assailant.
The tribunal may reduce the amount of compensation or give no compensation at all if it decides that you were partly or wholly to blame for the incident, for example, if you provoked the incident.
It may also reduce the amount of compensation because of your behaviour, character or way of life. If you have a criminal record, it can be taken into account.
There are five types of cases
Personal injuries with short-term effects
You will be paid for your actual loss of earnings (because you had to take time off work), actual medical expenses (including dentist's expenses), reasonable traveling expenses (e.g., going to and from the doctor), medication and eyeglasses.
Personal injuries with long-term effects
You will be paid for your estimated future loss of earnings (how much you would have earned if you had been able to continue working), estimated future medical expenses, estimated future expenses as a result of the disability (e.g., future care or special equipment) and estimated future loss of earning potential.
Death of the victim due to criminal injury
The family will be paid the actual loss of earnings and expenses that may have been incurred before the death, future loss of support or maintenance for anyone who was dependent on the victim, funeral and burial expenses and mental distress money for immediate family members.
Death of the victim not due to the criminal injury
If the victim died of causes unrelated to the criminal injury, the family will not be compensated unless the tribunal considers that this would cause hardship to the dependants of the victim.
Stolen or damaged property
The scheme does not compensate for stolen or damaged property, except medically necessary items like eyeglasses and artificial limbs.
How is compensation paid?
Usually the money is paid in a single payment. However, there are exceptions:
- The tribunal may make an initial payment and postpone the final award until it becomes clearer what the long-term effect of an injury is likely to be.
- If you are under 18 years old, the tribunal may invest the money until you become an adult.
- If you are no longer able to manage your affairs, the tribunal may have the money placed in a trust for your benefit.
How to apply
You can download the Fatal Injury Application Form or the Non-Fatal Application Form from the Tribunal's website. You can phone or write to the Offices of the Tribunal, giving your name and address and the date and location of the incident, and an application form will be sent to you.
You should fill out the application form and return it to the tribunal. You should send any receipts or vouchers for expenses along with the form.
Information on the compensation scheme (pdf) is available in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal Victims Charter (pdf).