The Scottish charity, Victim Support Scotland, has recently spoken out in an attempt to protect the funds available to compensate victims of criminal injuries.
The charity is pushing for the law to be changed so that employers pay criminal injury compensation to victims of criminal injuries if they are sustained in the workplace. This is in an attempt to ensure there are enough funds available for victims of crime elsewhere.
Criminal injury compensation fund cuts
The call comes in the wake of a recent announcement by Westminster to cut the funds available to criminal injury victims by as much as 30%. This could mean that as many as half of all criminal injury victims would receive less compensation, or no compensation at all.
The charity has also expressed concern and suggested changes to the current tariff system which they criticise for being inefficient, overly complicated and slow. They are keen to see a change in the system that reduces bureaucracy and sees payouts reaching as many claimants as possible.
The current proposal by the Ministry of Justice could see as much as £60 million taken out of the system. Payments for claims below £2,500 would be abolished completely, whilst payments below £11,000 would be significantly reduced. It would also require victims to pay up front for medical reports. Any EU nationals would also need to have been resident in the UK for at least 6 months to be eligible.
The Scottish Government have expressed similar concerns to those raised by Victim Support Scotland. They report that there is some support for a compensation scheme of this nature in Scotland and it is something the Scottish Government are looking to build upon in the future.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority currently report that more than 3,000 victims of criminal injuries in Scotland are awarded compensation packages each year. These packages range from £1,000 to £250,000. However, it is not clear how many of these relate to injuries sustained at work. A number of claimants include those in the police force and fire service, along with prison workers and security staff.
Clearly there is no easy answer. Cuts need to be made. It will be interesting to see if Victim Support Scotland are able to gain support from the Scottish government and set a precedent for the rest of the UK.