Campaigners want 'fairer' fund to compensate victims

THE GOVERNMENT is to be pressed by magistrates, justices' clerks and crime victims' campaigners to make radical changes to the system of awarding compensation through the courts.

Representatives of all three groups are to make submissions to a Lord Chancellor's Department working party asking for a “compensation fund” to be established.

Victims of offences would be paid a one-off sum from the fund, covering reparation, and offenders would subsequently pay back the amount to the State in instalments.

The system would replace the existing compensation method, under which the court orders the defendant to pay the money back directly to the injured party in instalments.

The Magistrates' Association, the Justices' Clerks Society and Victim Support say

the present system often results in the offender failing to pay.

Even if payments are kept up, victims are compensated in piecemeal amounts and suffer a constant reminder of the crime they have suffered.

Kevin McCormac, chair of the clerks' professional purposes committee, said: “The system we are proposing is much fairer.

“At the moment, people who have suffered from a crime have to wait a long time to be paid, if they are paid at all.”

Surveys have shown that a large percentage of compensation is not paid by defendants.

The LCD working group will consider the proposals in a wide-ranging look at financial penalties on offenders.