Can I claim compensation if I have been injured as a victim of a crime, even if I have a previous criminal conviction?

Victims of violent crimes who suffer injuries can make claims for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, or CICA. The CICA is responsible for paying out compensation to victims of violent crimes like assaults or stabbings. The amount of compensation you receive is set out by a tariff attached to the latest version of the CICA Scheme from 2012. The severity of your injuries will be assessed against that tariff, assuming you are eligible to receive compensation under the rules of the scheme.

One of the rules concerns past criminal convictions. If you have been convicted of a crime in the past it may have an impact upon your ability to claim compensation from CICA or the amount of compensation you can claim. The rules differ depending upon whether your conviction is spent or unspent. If the conviction is unspent, and it falls into one of these categories:

  • a sentence excluded from rehabilitation
  • a custodial sentence
  • a sentence of service detention
  • removal from His Majesty’s Service
  • a community order
  • a youth rehabilitation order

The CICA will refuse to make an award of compensation in your favour as you will not be eligible under the rules. If you have an unspent criminal conviction which does not fall into one of those categories, the CICA may still make an award in your favour, but they may reduce it depending upon the amount of points the CICA attribute to the conviction on a scale of 1-10 where 1 point would see a 10% reduction and 10 points would see a 100% reduction. The more recent the conviction and the more serious the sentence, the more points the conviction will attract, and so the greater the reduction in the award of compensation, although the specific facts will also be taken into account.

If your previous conviction was some time ago, it will be important to understand whether it can be classed as ‘spent’. If so, then it will not be taken into account by the CICA and you will still be eligible for compensation if you are the victim of a violent crime. Likewise, road traffic offences resulting in penalty points or a fine only will not be taken into account.

The amount of time it takes for a conviction to become spent will depend upon the sentence which was handed down. Generally, the more serious the sentence, the longer it takes for the conviction to become ‘spent’. Some examples include:

  • a police caution or absolute discharge is immediately spent
  • a fine is spent 12 months after the sentence is imposed
  • a compensation order is spent on the date on which payment is made in full
  • a conditional caution, youth conditional caution or diversionary caution is spent after 3 months
  • a severe reprimand is spent 12 months after the sentence is imposed
  • a custodial sentence of less than 1 year is spent 12 months after the sentence (including any licence period) is completed
  • a custodial sentence of between 1 and 4 years is spent 4 years after the sentence (including any licence period) is completed
  • a custodial sentence of more than 4 years but not for a schedule 18 offence is spent 7 years after the sentence (including any licence period) is completed
  • an equivalent sentence received in Northern Ireland or EU

There are some sentences which do not become spent and will remain unspent indefinitely. These include imprisonment for schedule 18 offences, otherwise known as specified violent offences examples of which include manslaughter, false imprisonment, kidnapping, threats to kill, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, abandoning children, infanticide, causing bodily injury by explosives and assault with intent to resist arrest. There are others of similar character. Other examples of convictions which do not become spent include sentences of imprisonment for life and sentences of imprisonment for public protection.

If you make a claim for compensation under the CICA Scheme, the CICA will undertake a police records, CRB or DBS check to see whether you have any convictions. Therefore it is important to disclose convictions because failure to do so may prejudice your case. If you are unsure whether your conviction is spent or unspent, please contact our specialist criminal injuries compensation solicitors who can advise you about the process.

Paul Currie, personal injury and criminal injuries compensation solicitor says:

“the purpose of convictions becoming spent was to enable the offender to become rehabilitated into the community, especially for more minor offences, so that their entire life is not defined by their past history. The time it takes for a conviction to become spent is usually seen as the rehabilitation period and, if the offender has stayed on the right side of the law in the meantime, it is not fair they then get punished if they suffer as victim of a violent crime through no fault of their own. This can be a complicated are and it is important to seek legal advice should you need to make a claim to the CICA”.

At Liverpool Legal we have highly experienced and specialist criminal injuries compensation solicitors who will work with you. A “ No Win, No Fee“ arrangement may be available in suitable situations.  For further information, please contact Paul Currie on 0151 702 5400 or click here to send an email to, alternatively you may enter your details on the contact form.

Paul is the head of our personal injury department. He has lived on the Wirral virtually all his life and worked in Liverpool for 15 years. In addition to management work, he acts for clients who have suffered serious or catastrophic injuries, understanding the complex and sensitive issues surrounding such difficult times in people’s lives. Paul is experienced at arranging rehabilitation where appropriate with the aim of improving the quality of life of those suffering serious injuries following accidents. Paul acts for clients who have suffered illnesses or diseases as a result of their work. Paul has extensive experience in bringing claims for compensation for victims suffering from asbestos related illness including asbestosis and mesothelioma of the utmost severity. Paul is dedicated to dealing with asbestos claims in a swift, thorough and compassionate manner to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients. Paul also deals with claims for clients who have suffered from other industrial diseases including respiratory conditions, vibration white finger, noise induced hearing loss, dermatitis and repetitive strain injuries.