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) (also known as “the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme”):
- 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: If you have experienced personal injuries as a result of a crime, you may be entitled to compensation under this scheme. 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 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 Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
How to claim compensation
What does the scheme of compensation cover?
The Scheme pays compensation for expenses and losses suffered in the following 2 circumstances:
- 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 Tribunal will consider claims for compensation from the injured person (the victim) or from persons claiming on behalf of the victim in circumstances where they are responsible for the victim’s maintenance and they have experienced material losses as a result of the victim’s injuries. In fatal cases, where the victim has died, their dependents can claim compensation under the Scheme.
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 in writing within 3 months from the date of the incident causing the injury. However, the Tribunal can in exceptional circumstances accept late applications up to a maximum of 2 years following the incident.
Under the terms of the Scheme you are required to report the crime without delay to An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force). In any case where the crime is alleged to have been carried out by a member of An Garda Síochána, you are required to report details of the incident to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). You also must co-operate fully with the investigation into the criminal incident by the relevant authorities.
Consideration of your claim
Under the Scheme, a decision on your claim is made, in the first instance, by the Tribunal on the basis of the submitted documents and does not require you to attend a hearing. The procedure for considering your claim varies depending on the amount of money involved.
For cases worth:
- Less than €3,000, a decision of first instance may be made by a duly authorised officer of the Tribunal. This is generally a member of Tribunal staff who is appointed as a duly authorised officer by the Tribunal.
- More than €3,000, the application must be submitted for decision of first instance to a Tribunal Member. A Tribunal Member is a qualified barrister or solicitor appointed by the Minister for Justice to undertake duties relating to the Tribunal on a part-time basis.
- Less than €75,000, the application will generally be decided at first instance by a single Tribunal Member.
- More than €75,000, the application will be decided collectively by three Tribunal Members.
The applicant is notified by the secretariat of the decision when it is made available. The applicant can accept or appeal the decision.
Decisions of the Tribunal, redacted to remove personal data, may be made publicly
Appealing the decision of the Tribunal
In the event you appeal the Tribunal’s decision of first instance, you will be invited to attend an appeal hearing in which a panel of 3 Tribunal Members (not including any members who made the original decision) hear the case orally and make a collective final decision. The application is considered afresh without reference to the decision of first instance.
The appeal hearing will be held in private and in an informal manner so legal representation is not required. The Scheme makes no provision for awarding legal costs; therefore, the Tribunal cannot make any award in respect of costs you incur in soliciting legal representation.
The hearing will generally be conducted remotely by teleconference or web-based video conference. However, it may, in certain circumstances, be held onsite. Decisions of the Tribunal, redacted to remove personal data, may be made publicly available.
Exceptions to the scheme
No compensation will be paid:
- If the loss you suffer is less than €500
- 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 and the Gardaí (or GSOC, where relevant)
There are various other exceptions in the Scheme (paragraphs 9-15) where an award may be reduced or no award made.
How much compensation will I get?
The Scheme only covers financial losses, such as lost earnings and vouched (proven by original receipts) out-of-pocket expenses and bills. It doesn't compensate you for general damages, such as (pain and suffering related compensation).
The Scheme covers personal injury only and makes no provision for compensation in respect
of stolen or damaged property, even if such property was stolen or damaged at the same
time and by the same offender who caused or inflicted the injury which is the subject of an application.
When deciding the amount of the award involving loss of earnings, the Tribunal will consider any social welfare payments, agriculture 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
If you sustained personal injuries with short-term effects, you may be compensated for:
- Out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the incident (provided you can provide original receipts)
- Actual loss of earnings (because you had to take time off work)
- Actual medical expenses (including dental and optical expenses)
- Reasonable travel expenses related to the injuries incurred, such as going to and from the doctor (provided you can provide original receipts)
2. Personal injuries with long-term effects
In cases where longer term injuries have been experienced, you can, in addition to the type of compensation listed at 1 above, also 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)
- Estimated future loss of earning potential
Typically, the Tribunal will only make such awards on provision of various specialist reports, including an actuarial assessment.
3. Death of the victim due to criminal injury
Dependents can be paid for 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 of funeral and burial expenses.
In fatal cases, the Scheme also provides that an award (the maximum amount of which cannot currently exceed €35,000) may be made under the Civil Liability Act, 1961 in respect of mental distress experienced by dependents. To avail of such compensation, applicants must declare all dependents as defined in the 1961 Act and provide either a signed waiver (for those over 18) or an original birth certificate. The Tribunal will consider all dependents in determining how to allocate the €35,000.
4. Death of the victim not due to the criminal injury
If the victim died of causes unrelated to the criminal injury, compensation will not be provided by the Tribunal in respect of loss of earnings, expenses and liabilities incurred before the death unless the Tribunal considers that this would otherwise cause hardship to the victim’s dependents.
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, Usually, it is paid in a single payment. However, there are exceptions:
- The Tribunal may make an initial payment, typically in respect of vouched medical expenses, 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
The European Commission provides an online portal, which sets out the compensation schemes available in 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 Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal (see ‘Where to apply’ below for details) 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.
You can read more regarding the handling of cross-border compensation claims on the Department of Justice website.
Compensation scheme for prison officers
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal administers a separate compensation scheme for prison officers who are injured or die due to a violent crime. Copy application forms under this Scheme are available from the offices of the Tribunal (see ‘Where to apply’ below for details).
How to apply
You can download the Fatal Injury Application Form or the Non-Fatal Application Form from the Tribunal's website. You can also contact the offices of the Tribunal to request an application form in the post.
You should fill out the application form and return it to the Tribunal. Receipts for expenses must be submitted when advised by the Tribunal secretariat to do so.
Where to apply