People who suffer life-changing injuries in dog attacks are denied compensation to help fund their care because of a “cruel and unfair” change of policy.
“Dog attacks can result in very severe injuries and the consequences for babies and young children in particular who survive are heartbreaking,” said Neil Sugarman, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) a national not-for-profit group with works to improve the law for injured people. “In some cases, they will no longer lead the lives that they should have enjoyed, and may always need specialist care and support”.
“To be responsible for a dog which is dangerously out of control is a criminal offence,” Mr Sugarman explained.
“Victims of other crimes can claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to help put their lives back on track, and rightly so. But casualties of violent dog attacks were removed from the scheme four years ago, unless the dog was used deliberately to attack, rather than its owner being careless or reckless about it.
"We are all aware of increasing reports of truly horrific attacks, particularly on children, by dogs which are known to be threatening. Elderly people are also vulnerable and may never recover fully. Tougher jail sentences and penalties have been introduced to deal with the people responsible for the animals, but we need to look after the survivors,” he said.
“The fact that these victims are out of the scope of the scheme is a cruel and unfair oversight in this country’s support system for victims of crime”.