CWU opposes government plans to cut compensation for victims of violent dog attacks
1st June 2012
CWU is opposing proposals by the government to make cuts to the
Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) which would make the
victims of dog attacks highly unlikely to receive compensation
There are more than 5,000 dog attacks on postal workers every
year, with more on other service workers. The plans also mean that
victims who would have received compensation under the scheme of
£2,000 or less will now get nothing for all injuries.
Compensation payments under £11,000 will also be significantly
reduced, whilst payments of £11,000 or more will not be
CWU Health, Safety & Environment Officer Dave
Joyce said: "Many CWU members who are dog attack
victims face a situation where the owner is uninsured and has no
money. Dog attack claims can involve people suffering permanent
injuries and scarring, which often has a damaging impact on their
lives. It is only right that dog attack victims are allowed to
bring valid claims for redress. Equally, victims with serious
injuries may need to take several months off work in order to
recover from it."
MoJ officials stated in their consultation paper they do not
believe that small compensation payments after the event are the
most effective way to help victims recover from the effects of
crime and that the more minor injuries will be catered for by the
NHS and that government will invest more money in support services
for victims, available at the point of need.
Dave added: "Pay-outs from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme contrast starkly with the amounts awarded by the civil courts, which often run into five or six figures. Many people who have suffered physical and psychological harm as victims of dog attacks and other crimes of violence will lose their rights to claim compensation and others will receive substantially reduced compensation payments, as a result of these proposed changes. Any alterations to the Scheme need to be scrutinised carefully to ensure that claimants do not lose out on compensation which they deserve. These proposed changes will restrict access to a form of justice for those who have been injured in dog attacks through no fault of their own."
The CWU response to the proposals strongly opposes
the CICS changes, pointing out that regularly in cases where an
irresponsible dog owner's aggressive and uncontrolled dog
severely injures a postal worker, the owner has no third party
insurance and no money in the bank or assets. Victims in such cases
go finally to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as a last
resort but soon there will be no compensation there either if these
proposals are not withdrawn.
"The Government, in its reforms of civil justice, must stop
to consider the needs of innocent victims and recognise that they
need and deserve full and proper compensation. But by cutting crime
victims compensation, the MoJ is cutting their access to
justice" said Dave.
Under the previous Labour Government, groups representing
victims of crime had welcomed a Government overhaul of the criminal
injuries system which increased compensation pay-outs for many
types of injury by 10%.
CWU submission in full.
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