New proposals for compensation scheme for victims of violence
In 1964, the then Government introduced a scheme to ensure that victims of violence who could not take action for compensation for their injuries and losses were fully compensated. Until 1996, this compensation was calculated on the principle of restoring the victim to the position he/she would have been in had it not been for the assault. After 1996, a tariff scheme was introduced and awards were capped at £500,000.The scheme benefited thousands of victims of violence, including shaken and battered babies and victims of sexual assault and abuse.The present Government proposes to ‘refocus’ the scheme in 2012, with the aim of saving £50 million a year. Almost 50% of those now entitled to awards will lose that entitlement – some 18,000 people. Awards will be reduced for a further 13,000. Loss of earnings will be restricted to the Statutory Sick Pay level of £85.85 per week for those who can demonstrate three years consistent employment.Awards under the present scheme are not generous. In circumstances where the courts would award £10 million or more for personal injury, awards are capped at £500,000.It is almost certain that the eventual result of these new proposals will mean more ingenious claims against public bodies and their insurers for failing to protect individuals against violence.
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