From November 27, victims of violent crime who sustain minor injuries such as facial injuries, cuts, minor fractures or minor head injuries such as concussion will not be able to pursue compensation via the taxpayer – funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The move is designed to reduce the annual cost of the scheme by a quarter, but victims groups and some Unions are up in arms about the changes.
The shopworkers union Usdaw commented that the changes would leave hundreds of retail staff who fall victim to acts of robbery every year without recompense.
The Ministry of Justice tried to justify the move by claiming it remains “dedicated to preserving compensation to the most seriously injured victims of crime….but where less serious injuries have been caused, we believe taxpayers’ money is better spent providing support and help rather than what are often small payments well after the crime has been committed.”
Although the proposed £50 million savings appear relatively modest in comparison with the overall annual scheme budget (totalling anything between £200 and 450 million pounds, depending on who you speak to), the reality of the changes will mean the majority of victims who were able to claim prior to the changes will now be frozen out. A ‘Hardship Fund’ of some £500,000 is intended to be created to alleviate the effects for those least able to afford a loss of earning after a minor injury, but in reality the majority who will now lose out because of the changes will remain out of pocket.