Cash cut for crime victims predicted: Compensation tariffs attacked

VICTIMS of the most violent crimes could lose tens of thousands of pounds in compensation under rules to be introduced on 1 April, opponents of the changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme said yesterday.

Protests have been gathering momentum with lawyers, the Police Federation and those concerned with victims' welfare united in opposition.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which administers the current scheme and is largely made up of specialist lawyers, is unanimously against the Government's plans. It maintains that the motivation behind the initiative is to cut the spiralling cost of compensation, which has risen from pounds 52m in 1987-88 to pounds 152m last year.

No new legislation is needed before the changes are introduced but Labour has put down an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill over victim compensation and a further debate is expected in the Lords next week. Those against the changes argue the Government is rushing through its proposals, which were revealed only on 15 December last year.

Crawford Lindsay QC, a member of the board, said the new system, to be based on a 'tariff' of compensation for a list of injuries, would be 'manifestly unfair'. The effect of the loss of an eye was not the same for a man in his eighties as for a young pilot, yet both would receive the same pounds 20,000 compensation.

'Some people are very stoic about relatively serious injuries while others are extremely distressed by what appear to be minor events. You cannot measure the effect on an individual by the length of a scar,' he told a conference on victim support at the London School of Economics.

Case examples given to conference delegates included a psychiatric nurse who was attacked and had to cease work as a result. Under the old scheme, she received pounds 125,000, but under the new she would only get pounds 5,000.

The family of a pub doorman who was stabbed to death when he tried to intervene in a fight received pounds 100,000, but would be entitled to a maximum of pounds 10,000 under the new rules.

Victim Support, a pressure group, is in favour of tariffs but says the Government's are too low, particularly for certain cases such as rape and sexual abuse of children.

David Maclean, Home Office minister, speaking at the same conference, denied that the intention was to save money and said Britain paid out more in victim compensation than all the other members of the EU put together.

He rejected complaints that the abolition of loss of earnings compensation would mean far lower awards for those people whose jobs were lost because of their injuries. The new process would speed up the granting of awards as it would be simpler to administer. It would not involve legal debate and endless medical reports. The tariff was based on existing awards.

'It is indeed the case that the tariff scheme will not differentiate between different classes of people or different occupational groups. Everyone receiving a similar injury will receive the same award.

'It is legitimate to ask the taxpayer to pay a sum to mark society's abhorrence that someone has been a victim of crime. I think it is another matter to make a taxpayer fund some people much more than others who have suffered the same injury just because that person is in a higher paid job,' he said.

Tony Blair, the shadow Home Secretary, also attacked the Government's motivation and said the potential savings were as much as 20 per cent of the total bill.

Leading article, page 19

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us