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Compensation for victims of crime

If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you could be eligible to receive compensation from Compensation Services within the Department of Justice. You may also be eligible for compensation if your property has been maliciously damaged or if you have suffered loss or damage as a result of police or army action.

How can the Compensation Services help you?

Compensation Services offers a free service, processing applications and making awards on criminal injuries, criminal damage and the Justice and Security Act compensation schemes.

If you want to make an application, you can do this yourself, or you can get free help and assistance with the application process from Victim Support. You could also pay a solicitor to help you. You should be aware that Compensation Services cannot pay the costs of this for you in cases of criminal injury.

Compensation for criminal injuries

You may be able to claim criminal injuries compensation for

  • a personal injury whether mental or physical (including sexual offences)
  • a parent, child, husband, wife, or partner who died as a result of a criminal injury
  • loss of earnings or special expenses as a result of a criminal injury

Checking your eligibility for criminal injuries compensation

You may be eligible if:

  • you have been injured seriously enough to qualify for at least the minimum award (£1000)
  • you were injured in an act of violence in Northern Ireland – an offender does not necessarily have to have been convicted of, or even charged with the crime
  • you are making your application within two years of the incident that caused your injury – however, applications may still be accepted after two years if, in your particular case, it wasn’t reasonable to expect an application to be made within this time

If you are a UK resident, but were injured outside of England, Scotland and Wales, but in another European Union (EU) country use the link below to apply for compensation.

Reasons your compensation may be refused or reduced

Compensation Services can decide to reduce or completely refuse your compensation for the following reasons:

  • due to your behaviour before, during or after the incident in which you were injured
  • your criminal record
  • your failure to co-operate with the police, or with Compensation Services
  • your delay in informing the police, or other organisation, or person of the incident

Compensation for criminal damage

To be entitled to compensation there must be physical damage to your property or vehicle.

Compensation is payable for non-agricultural property where it can be shown that the damage was caused:

  • unlawfully, maliciously or wantonly by an unlawful assembly of three or more people
  • by an act of terrorism

For agricultural property, or property which is exempt from rates compensation is payable if the damage was caused maliciously or wantonly.

Compensation under the Justice and Security Act

If you suffer loss or damage as a result of action by the police or army, while searching for items which may be useful to terrorist organisations, the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 provides a right to claim compensation from the Secretary of State. This will normally be indicated on the Premises Search Record provided by the police or the army at the time of the search.

Applications for this compensation should be made to Compensation Services within 28 days of the date of damage.

How to apply

You may download application forms for criminal injuries or damage and further guidance from the Do it online section of nidirect using the links below

You may also contact the Customer Information Officer on 0300 200 7887. Lines are open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Application forms can be sent to your address or collected from our office at Millennium House.

To apply for compensation under the Justice and Security Act you must phone the Compensation Services to obtain an application form on 0300 200 7887.  Following the call your claim will be registered and an application form (C2) will be issued to either you or your solicitor.

How Compensation Services makes a decision

As soon as your application is received your details will be registered and a request will be made for a police report in relation to the incident. You will be sent an acknowledgement letter. Once the police report is received, a caseworker will look at your claim and decide whether further information is needed, for example, medical evidence or loss of earnings details.

Each application for compensation is determined on its own merits and in accordance with the relevant legislation. When all the information needed to make a decision on your claim is received, the caseworker will assess all the material and decide whether compensation can be paid.

Appealing against a decision

If you are unhappy with the decision made by Compensation Services, you can request a review of the decision, which should be made within three months from the date of the first decision. A separate review branch within the Agency will independently re-assess your claim, and at this stage further information may be requested. You will be notified who your review caseworker is once your request for a review is received.

If you are unhappy with the review decision, you can appeal the decision to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland (CICAPNI), which is an independent organisation outside the remit of Compensation Services. Your appeal should be made within three months of the review decision being issued.

Special arrangements for paying awards

We may sometimes need to make special arrangements for paying an award, to take account of the circumstances of the victim or of other relevant issues. For example, if the victim is a child, the award will be kept in a bank account which earns interest until the child is 18 years old. Awards for adults legally incapable of handling their own affairs might also be paid into trusts for the applicant's benefit.

Obtaining advance payments from a Trust account before a child reaches 18

It is the responsibility of the Head of Compensation Services to manage a child’s account, in line with her responsibilities as a Trustee under the terms of the Trustee Act (Northern Ireland) 1958.

In doing so, there is a presumption that the award will be held in its entirety until the child reaches the age of 18. However, the Chief Executive may exercise discretion and release some of the award if she is convinced that it would be for the advancement or benefit of the child.

Any requests should be made in writing, and sent to:

Head of Compensation Services
Compensation Services
6th Floor
Millennium House
25 Great Victoria Street
Belfast
BT2 7AQ

Obtaining compensation from a Trust fund, once the child reaches 18

The day following the child’s 18th birthday, a ‘request for payment of award’ form will be issued. The claimant needs to complete this form and return the following:

Witness Statement

The claimant must sign and date the Request for Payment of Award form and their signature must be witnessed by someone who knows them, but is not related to them. The person who witnesses the signature must be one of the following (and they must also sign the form):-

  • solicitor
  • barrister
  • judge
  • justice of the peace
  • medical doctor
  • dentist
  • member of the clergy
  • bank manager
  • teacher
  • social worker or probation officer
  • police officer
  • army officer

Proof of Identity

When you return your Request for Payment of Award form to us, you must also send one of the following:-

  • your medical card
  • your national insurance card
  • your student card
  • your electoral card
  • your driving licence

Compensation Services can accept only valid originals (not copies).

Once all the necessary documentation is received a request will be made to the Bank of Ireland to close the account and forward the compensation to the claimant.