Compensation paid out to victims of violent crime last year almost trebled to €6.3m

Compensation Paid Out To Victims Of Violent Crime Last Year Almost Trebled To €6.3M
The compensation scheme, which was established in 1974, is open to all applicants who have been victims of a violent crime.
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Seán McCárthaigh

Compensation paid out to victims of violent crime under a scheme established by the Government almost 50 years ago almost trebled to over €6.3 million last year.

The latest annual report of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal shows compensation totalling €6,321,559 was awarded to 192 claimants in 2022 – an average payout of €32,925.


It represented a significant increase on compensation levels awarded by the CICT the previous year when 120 claimants received just under €2.3 million with an average award of €19,160.

The compensation scheme, which was established in 1974, is open to all applicants who have been victims of a violent crime.

One claimant, who suffered an acquired brain injury as a result of a violent assault when he was still a minor, was awarded compensation of €302,256 under the scheme last year.

The award took into account that he had separately been paid €3,250 in compensation by his assailant.


The tribunal has also operated a separate compensation scheme since 1990 for prison officers who suffer personal injuries during the course of their work.

The latest report shows 91 prisoner officers were awarded compensation totalling over €1.7 million by the CICT in 2022 – an average award of €18,987.

Three prison officers each made two successful claims under the scheme last year.

The report shows there was a 37% annual increase in the number of applications for compensation in 2022.


A total of 162 people submitted a claim to the CICT last year, although the figure is still below the pre-pandemic level of 2019 when 238 applications were received.

Another 74 applications were received by the CICT from prison officers last year – an increase of 10 over 2021 figures.

The CICT chairperson, Conor Heaney, said there had also been a significant increase in the number of appeal hearings which were listed and determined during 2022. in addition to an increase in the overall number of files sent to the Tribunal for decision.

Last year was also the first full calendar year in which an increased membership of the CICT (from 7 to 14 members) was in place which facilitated the increase in hearings.


Mr Heaney said the CICT also engaged in several fora last year in an effort to develop and heighten public awareness and understanding of the compensation scheme.

The scheme allows victims and their dependents in fatal cases to apply for reimbursement of expenses and losses they may have suffered as a direct result of a violent crime.

The tribunal also considers claims for compensation from people injured in coming to the aid of gardaí or trying to prevent crime in a public place as well as anyone injured in preventing the escape of a criminal from custody or attempting to save a human life.

It is also a requirement that any criminal incident which resulted in an injury for which compensation is sought must be reported to gardaí without delay, or to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in cases where the alleged offender is a garda.


An application for compensation must be submitted to the tribunal within three months of the offence, although a longer deadline of up to two years is accepted in exceptional circumstances.

The scheme does not consider applications from people injured as a result of road traffic offences except in cases where there has been a deliberate attempt to run down a victim.

Since 1986, compensation is only paid out in relation to special damages – losses which are quantifiable such as wages – as the CICT does not consider any award for general damages such as pain and suffering.

The tribunal consists of qualified barristers and solicitors appointed by the Minister for Justice who received combined fees worth €308,853 last year.

Awards by the tribunal are limited to the amount in annual funding voted to it by the Dáil each year.

The CICT said it understood there are a number of legal challenges before the Irish courts challenging a number of elements of the scheme over the question of whether it complied with EU legislation including whether compensation should be awarded for pain and suffering.

In January, the Minister for Justice had to announce amendments to the scheme after a successful High Court challenge by two males won tests cases over being excluded from making claims for compensation after lodging their applications outside approved time limits.

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