Cuts to compensation payments for victims of violent crimes in Northern Ireland could have a ‘devastating’ impact on their recovery, say experts.
The Department of Justice Northern Ireland proposes to remove some compensation payments from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS).
“Regardless of the type or the severity of the injury suffered, every violent criminal act has a profound and traumatic effect on the victim,” said Martin Hanna, Northern Ireland representative for not-for-profit victim campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
“The compensation scheme comforts victims who need to feel believed and listened to,and goes some way to providing reassurance that the crime has been acknowledged.It is a big part of helping victims to gain closure on their ordeal and move forward,” Mr Hanna explained.
“These are genuine injuries, causing genuine suffering which should never have happened. Compensation for injuries such as permanent scarring could be removed from the scheme, and there is a proposal to reduce some other payments which could affect victims with brain injuries.
“We may be in a climate of cost saving, but we must not forget to look after each other”.
The DOJNI consultation closes on 16 March.