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It’s that time of the year again that everyone comes together and celebrates the achievements, the hard work and the friendships they have made in the past twelve months.
Nothing encapsulates this more than the obligatory office Christmas party. However, while these occasions are supposed to be filled with festive cheer and joy, events can take a darker turn.
An overuse of alcohol and the copiousness of colleagues can create a volatile atmosphere that leads to inexcusable incidents. In the event that you are a victim of an uncalled for and unprovoked crime of violence at your Christmas party, there is a government-funded scheme to compensate you.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)?
The CICA was designed to compensate blameless victims of violent crimes, including both physical and sexual assaults. The Scheme has undergone numerous revisions since its inaugural year in 1996 and currently compensates for over 300 different injuries ranging in values between £1,000 and £250,000.
There are a number of conditions for an applicant to be eligible for a claim, some of which include the incident taking place within the past two years, the crime being reported to the police as soon as “reasonably practicable” and full co-operation with both the police and the CICA Claims Officer. For more information on eligibility, please see our extensive CICA guide here.
What if I suffer a physical assault at my Christmas party?
The volume of drinking at a Christmas party can lead to minor disagreements very quickly escalating into physical violence. If you have been the victim of physical assault, then you will have satisfied the initial eligibility condition of suffering a ‘crime of violence’. In order to assess the valuation of your injuries, the CICA use the tariff of injuries contained in their Scheme. This tariff includes many different and common injuries that vary in value, dependant on the severity and any residual effect.
If you suffer from a psychological injury following the incident at your Christmas party, the CICA may also assess the effect of this on an applicant; this usually would require confirmation by way of a diagnosis or prognosis from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.
What if I suffer a sexual assault at my Christmas party?
If a colleague is fuelled up on booze, they may become over-confident and ignore personal boundaries.
As with physical assaults, the CICA base the compensation received for sexual assaults on the tariff of injuries on their Scheme. For sexual assault claims, there are awards ranging from £1,000, for non-penetrative sexual physical act(s) over clothing, to £44,000, for non-consensual penile penetrative resulting in serious internal bodily injury and a permanent disabling severe mental illness.
The CICA will take the severity of the incident at the Christmas party and all resulting injuries into account when making their assessment.
How long will a CICA claim take?
Usually, the CICA will take between 12-18 months to make an initial decision on a claim. However, it is extremely important to note that this dependant on the severity of an individual’s injuries that have been caused at the Christmas party and the complexity of an applicant’s claim.
Sexual violence ‘Fast-track’ option
Pursuing a claim for sexual violence can be extremely intimidating and, at Oakwood Solicitors, our aim is to make the process as stress-free as possible.
For crimes of sexual violence, the CICA presents a service that allows them to settle your claim swiftly and with the least amount of intrusion as possible. The CICA uses its tariff of injuries to offer fixed payments based solely on the nature of the assault. It is important to note that the CICA will not take any psychological or additional physical injuries into account if the ‘fast-track’ option is taken.
If this service is chosen, the CICA will:
The CICA advises that they will aim to complete all the steps of the ‘fast-track’ process in around 8 weeks.
At an office Christmas Party in December 2018, Mrs. A was approached by a colleague an hour or so into her night. He began to flirt with Mrs. A who advised him that she was in a relationship and was not interested in his advances.
The male seemingly accepted this and left Mrs. A alone for the majority of the night, until Mrs. A was leaving the party and heading towards the taxi rank. She took a short cut through an alleyway and the male co-worker followed her, before pushing her against a wall and kissing her. Mrs. A struggled with him, attempting to push him off.
However, he proceeded to put his hand up her dress and sexually assault her. Mrs. A slapped the male and luckily managed to get away before he could go any further.
Mrs. A was referred to Oakwood Solicitors by a friend who had recommended us. We ran her claim, utilising the CICA’s sexual violence ‘fast-track’ option, and Mrs. A was awarded a sum of £3,300 within 2 months.
Why choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?
At Oakwood Solicitors, we will work on your CICA claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. If your Christmas party assault claim is unfortunately unsuccessful, we will not expect you to pay us anything.
Throughout your claim, you will have a dedicated advisor who will undergo your claim, assisting you with any questions you may have, regardless of how big or small you may believe them to be. If you would prefer, we are able to assign a female member of staff to carry out your claim. Your case handler will provide you with regular updates from the start of your claim until the conclusion and will ensure that the entire process is as stress-free as possible.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
For help escalating your CICA claim or for any advice about Christmas party assault claims, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.