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Survivors of terrorist atrocities say compensation scheme is broken

A survey of those affected by 11 major incidents finds most are unhappy with Criminal Injuries and Compensation Authority and more than two-thirds felt that the compensation scheme overseen by the Criminal Injuries and Compensation Authority was both unfair and unreasonable.

People who suffered life-changing injuries or mental anguish after being caught up in terrorist atrocities have condemned the UK’s compensation system for being “broken” and “unmanageable”, according to a report.

People who were severely injured in bombings, shootings and stabbings or are suffering from PTSD have complained about the low levels of compensation and the length of time it takes to receive money after traumatic incidents. Many have been unable to work for long periods following the incidents.

Brendan Cox, co-founder of Survivors Against Terror and co-author of the report, said CICA should be replaced. “CICA is broken. There can be no other conclusion from the data and the testimonies we have gathered.

“An organisation that is supposed to be helping survivors recover and rebuild is instead consistently doing them harm. If the organisation had poor processes and procedures but scored well on other areas, there would be hope for reform. There is not.

“Survivors deserve better. They have been attacked – not because of who they are, but as proxies for the British state. Therefore, the British state has a responsibility to ensure that they are supported,” he said.

Survivors Against Terror (SAT) distributed the survey among survivors caught up in major atrocities including the 7/7 London Bombings, the Fishmonger Hall stabbings, the Manchester Arena attack, and the terror attacks in Paris, Tunisia, Mumbai and Bali.

Jeff Russell who works for a criminal injury compensation firm (CICA Claims) in Manchester said of the scheme, “The CICA has come in for a lot of criticism in recent years, much of which is rightly deserved. We often see people who have simply given up hope as a direct result of their experience with the CICA. Whilst the scheme is open to people to make claims themselves it is truly shocking just how much disparity there is from two almost identical cases in which a member of the public gets a truly raw deal, compared with those that access the scheme with legal representation.”

The Survivors Against Terror (SAT) charity received 132 responses from survivors to questions about their experiences with the CICA and found:

  • Sixty-eight per cent felt that the process was unfair and unreasonable, only 9% felt the opposite.
  • Sixty-two per cent did not feel treated with respect and empathy – compared with only 17% who felt they were.
  • The requests for evidence from CICA as “proof” of physical and psychological injury were experienced as unmanageable, unreasonable, and the time limits set by CICA were experienced as unreasonable.
  • More than half said they were unable to speak to someone from CICA for help.

Lisa Bridgett, the manager of a boating park, is among many survivors of the 2017 Manchester Arena attack who have complained about the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme.

More than five years after the bombing, which blew off a middle finger and left her with facial scarring, a broken ankle, lifelong breathing difficulties and PTSD, she rejected a £17,350 award from CICA.

“I’ve been unable to bring myself to accept the offer made to me by the CICA so far as I feel it’s simply an insult. It’s like offering scraps of help,” she told WalesOnline in March.

“It’s all done by working to a spreadsheet and a table of payments dependent upon the physical and psychological injury suffered.

“They give you 100% of the set award for what they class as your first injury, 30% for your second injury and then 15% for your third injury. They have offered me £13,500 for mental injuries, which they have classed as not lasting for more than five years, £3,300 for my broken ankle as the second injury and £550 for the loss of my finger as the third injury,” she said.

CICA Claims

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