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CICA and terrorism

Author: Maria James

The recent terrorist incidents that have occurred across the UK have affected people in all different ways. From the sadness and sympathy felt towards the victims and their families, to the fear and intimidation some people now feel when it comes to visiting busy places and attending events.

As adults, we tend to try and rationalise our feelings and reassure ourselves of the chances of us being involved in a terrorist incident. But sometimes things are just too close to home for us to persuade ourselves that ‘it won’t happen when I’m there’ or ‘it won’t happen to me’. More and more of us now will realise that we have been to places that are being attacked and could easily have been in the same situation as the victims.

For the victims and families involved, there have been devastating consequences. From life-changing injuries to lost loved ones; the lasting effect of the incidents will never go away.

If someone is hit by a car in the street, the driver would likely face criminal charges and repercussions, and a civil claim for compensation could be pursued. Both of these things would help the victims and their families to progress their lives and would allow them to feel justice for what they had been put through. But often with acts of terrorism, the person who carried out the attack does not survive to face the consequences.

So what can people do to feel any sense of justice or acknowledgement when the perpetrators of these crimes are killed as part of the attack or police intervention? What can be done to try and give them any chance of getting on with their lives and coming to terms with how they are have been affected?

In the UK, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a free government service, which aims to provide compensation to victims of violent and intentional crimes, when traditional avenues are not available.  The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is able to provide compensation to victims of terrorist attacks in the UK and abroad.

The scheme does not require the perpetrator to be convicted – all it requires is that the incident has been reported to the appropriate authorities, and that the victim or their family have cooperated with authorities involved in investigations as much as possible.

Applications to the scheme can be made by the victims or their families via an online system or over the telephone. It will then be considered and investigated under the scheme and compensation can be awarded for specific injuries, as well as for specialist equipment and treatment in appropriate circumstances. Applications can also be made under the scheme for what is known as a bereavement award. This is awarded when a loved one has lost their life and can be accompanied by other special awards in circumstances when children have been left without a parent or guardian.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme will not change what has happened due to these terrorist attacks or offer consolation for lost loved ones. What it will help to do is give the victims and their families a starting point to help them to move forward with their lives and help them to feel that there is a wider acknowledgement of what has happened to them. For some people who pursue compensation through the scheme, it can give them a sense of justice, even though the person responsible cannot themselves be brought to justice.

Author: Maria James

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