Compensation for victims of crime
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to compensation for what has happened to you.
There are 2 main ways to get compensation for a crime that takes place in Ireland (or on an Irish ship or aircraft). These are by court order or under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted (pdf):
- Court order: In some criminal cases, the court may decide that an offender must pay compensation to you. This may be one of several conditions that the court has imposed on the offender so that they can avoid a prison sentence. The court may ask the Probation Service to supervise the payment of the compensation. Alternatively, you may bring a civil case against the offender seeking a court order for damages for any injury and loss caused.
- Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted: If you are injured as a result of a crime, you may be entitled to compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted. The Scheme also provides for the dependents of a victim of a fatal criminal injury to receive compensation. The scheme is funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
You can seek compensation under both of the above; however, you cannot be doubly compensated for any losses you have suffered. If an application is made for a court order, the processing of any application under the scheme may be suspended until the outcome of the court proceedings is known.
This document outlines the process of claiming compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted.
How to claim compensation
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 helping (or trying to help) to prevent a crime or save a human life.
Who can claim compensation?
The injured person (the victim) or, if that person has died, their immediate family can claim compensation under the scheme.
If you are responsible for looking after the victim and you are out of pocket as a result of their injuries, you may claim compensation.
How does the claim system work?
Under the terms of the Scheme applications for compensation should be made as soon as possible and must be made within 3 months from the date of the incident causing the injury. However, the Tribunal has discretion to admit a late application “in circumstances determined by the Tribunal to justify exceptional treatment”.
In order to consider your claim the Tribunal will ask the Garda Síochána for their report on the crime. If you did not report the crime to the Gardaí immediately, the Tribunal can decide to drop your case. However, if the Tribunal is satisfied that you made all reasonable efforts to notify the Gardaí of the crime and to cooperate fully with them, it may still consider your claim.
Generally, the information you provide in your application form will be used to decide your case and you will not have to appear in front of the Tribunal.
However, if you are called to the Tribunal, your hearing will be held in private. You do not need legal representation to apply for compensation and if you hire a legal representative, the Tribunal will not pay your legal expenses.
If your compensation claim is for less than €317, the Secretary of the Tribunal may deal with your case.
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 (this will not include the member who made the original decision on your case).
At an appeal hearing you will be asked to present your case before the Tribunal. You must present your case before the Tribunal. 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 you suffer is less than €63.49
- If you and the offender 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 I get?
The scheme only covers financial losses, such as lost earnings, 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 to you by or on behalf of the offender.
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.
The amount of compensation depends on the type and circumstances of the case including, for example, as follows:
1. Personal injuries with short-term effects
You may be paid for your actual loss of earnings (because you had to take time off work), actual medical expenses (including dentist's expenses), reasonable travelling expenses (such going to and from the doctor), medication and eyeglasses.
2. Personal injuries with long-term effects
You can be paid for your estimated future loss of earnings (if your injury restricts or fully prevents your future working), estimated future medical expenses, estimated future expenses as a result of any disability suffered (such as future care or special equipment required) and estimated future loss of earning potential.
3. Death of the victim due to criminal injury
Dependents can 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, costs for funeral and burial expenses.
4. 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 victim’s dependants.
5. 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 it 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
Other compensation schemes
Compensation for victims of crime in other EU member states
If you are injured as a result of a crime while visiting another EU member state, you may be entitled for compensation in the state where the incident took place. You should contact the Tribunal for help with making your claim for compensation.
The Tribunal can help you to get the application form that you need to make your claim. It can also translate the form and your answers if the state you are applying to does not accept applications in English. If you wish, the Tribunal will also receive correspondence about your claim from the other member state and pass it on to you.
Compensation scheme for prison officers
The Tribunal administers a separate compensation scheme for prison officers who are injured or die due to a violent crime. Prison officers can apply for compensation under this scheme using the standard application forms – see ‘How to apply’ below.
How to apply
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.
Victims of crime can get support from the Crime Victims Helpline.
Where to apply