Compensation for victims of crime
Am I entitled to compensation?
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted (also known as “the Criminal Injuries Compensation 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.
This page outlines the process of claiming compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. You can also seek compensation through the courts. See ‘Compensation by court order’ below.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
What does the Scheme 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 under the Scheme from:
- The injured person (the victim)
- 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
- Dependents of the victim in fatal cases where the victim has died
How does the claim system work?
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 accept late applications up to a maximum of 2 years following the incident in exceptional circumstances.
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 based on 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 may be made by a duly authorised officer of the Tribunal. The Tribunal may appoint one of their staff members as a duly authorised officer.
- More than €3,000, the application must be submitted for decision 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 be decided by a single Tribunal Member.
- More than €75,000, the application will be decided collectively by three Tribunal Members.
You are notified by the secretariat of the decision when it is made available. You can accept or appeal the decision.
Decisions of the Tribunal, redacted to remove personal data, may be made publicly available.
Appealing the decision of the Tribunal
In the event you appeal the Tribunal’s original decision, you will be invited to an appeal hearing with a panel of 3 Tribunal members. The panel cannot include a Tribunal member who made the original decision.
The application is considered afresh without reference to the original decision. The panel hear the case orally and make a final decision on the claim.
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 may be conducted remotely by teleconference or web-based video conference. However, it may, in certain circumstances, be held onsite.
The decision of the Tribunal Appeal Hearing is considered to be final and cannot be appealed.
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 does not compensate you for general damages, such as pain and suffering.
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 your claim.
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, for any dependent who wishes to waive their entitlement to compensation, 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.
How is compensation paid?
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.
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. Application forms under this Scheme are available from the offices of the Tribunal (see ‘Where to apply’ below for contact details).
Compensation by 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.
You can seek compensation under both court order and by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. 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.
What if I am a victim of crime abroad?
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.
The European Commission provides an online portal, which sets out the compensation schemes available in EU member states. You should contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal for help with making your claim for compensation (see ‘Where to apply’ below for contact details).
The Tribunal can help you 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.
Victim of crime outside the EU
If you are a victim of crime while visiting a country outside of the EU, you should contact a local Irish embassy or consulate for support. Depending on the nature of the crime, you should also contact the local police. A local Irish embassy or consulate can assist you in dealing with the local police if necessary.
If you have since returned to Ireland, you can report the crime to An Garda Síochána who will forward this to the appropriate police service.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has further information on the role of embassies and consulates in supporting victims of crime abroad.
Support services for victims of crime
Victims of crime can get support from the Crime Victims Helpline. There are also other support services for victims of crime available that can offer particular support depending on the nature of the crime.
You can learn more about your rights and entitlements as a victim of crime on the Victims Charter website.
How do I apply for compensation?
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