Wednesday 14th November 2012 | 15:30
Savaged Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme comes into force on 27 November
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers press release
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has today confirmed that the revised Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme will come into force on Tuesday 27 November.
From this date, the vast majority of innocent victims of violent crime will discover they are either no longer eligible for any compensation or that the amount they could receive for their injuries has been slashed.
On Monday evening, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs controversially approved the revised Scheme, which will cut or axe altogether the financial support given to nearly 90% of the victims of violent crime. The Scheme currently awards compensation to between 30,000 and 40,000 people each year who are seriously injured following a crime of violence and who cannot obtain recompense from any other source, such as their assailant.
Despite opposition from Usdaw, the Labour Party and a range of other organisations who condemned the changes as "ill conceived, unnecessary and callous, MPs voted by 275 votes to 231 to approve the cuts.
Today's announcement means that innocent victims of violent crime have until 23.59 on Monday 26 November to submit a claim that will be considered under the existing scheme. After this date, claims for any incident, whether it occurred before or after midnight on 26 November will be processed under the new and drastically reduced scheme.
The shopworkers' union Usdaw has campaigned hard against the cuts on behalf of the many retail staff injured every year in armed robberies and assaults at work, most of who will now find they are no longer eligible for any financial support. Usdaw has also condemned the manner in which the Tory-led Coalition forced through the cuts and called on the Government to do more to alert victims to the impending changes.
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:
"The decision of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to support these cuts means that many injured victims of crime are going to suffer financially as well as physically. None of the MPs who supported the cuts should ever again have the gall to say they put victims of crime first.
"The entire process of making the cuts has been a shameful and frankly grubby episode in the exercise of government, one made all the more shocking because it’s innocent victims of violent crime who are going to suffer.
"The Government should do much more to make victims aware of the changes, but I suspect its silence reflects the weakness of its own case for the cuts and the inherent embarrassment of highlighting them.
"Usdaw urges anyone who has been injured in the course of a crime to submit an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as soon as possible and by 26 November at the latest."