Despite numerous recent campaigns, such as #stopknifecrime, to reduce the number of people either injured or killed in knife attacks, the number of knife-related incidents being reported to the police continues to rise.
In the current climate, it is rare to be able view the weekly news without seeing some mention of knife crime. It has become especially prevalent in London, and as knife crime engulfs the capital, the efforts of the Metropolitan Police to combat the surge are having little to no effect.
Knife attacks are often seen as a gang-related crime but can also be associated with several different physical attack scenarios. In most cases, the victim will be left with injuries that are life changing and can consist of nerve damage, injuries causing severe scarring/deformity and psychological injury.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that, in the UK, 39,818* offences involving a sharp instrument or a knife, were recorded by the police in the year ending September 2018. It was found that there had been an increase of 3,042 knife/sharp instrument-related offences, equating to an 8% rise – the highest recorded number since the year ending March 2011.
Other figures that the ONS obtained also showed an increase in knife offences in 31 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, in the year leading up to December 2018. Knife crime rates in England and Wales by area (year ending December 2018):
“I’ve been the victim of a knife attack; can I claim compensation?”
If you have been a victim of knife crime, you may be entitled to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA has a tariff of common injuries, each with set values although it is important to note that stabbing is not listed under the tariff.
“So, if I was the victim of a stabbing attack, does this mean I cannot undergo a CICA claim?”
While a stab wound is not listed under the CICA’s tariff of injuries, the potential consequences of a stab wound caused by a knife are. Usually, a scar will be left following a knife attack, which the CICA will compensate for. Scarring compensation ranges in value and is determined by the location and severity of the scar.
The CICA can also compensate for other incidental injuries arising as a result of a knife attack. These include punctured lungs and tendon, ligament and/or nerve damage. They can also compensate for psychological damages, but these must have been confirmed by a diagnosis/prognosis from a psychiatrist/clinical psychologist.
“What evidence will the CICA require from me?”
There is a misconception that an applicant will need to provide a police report. This is untrue – the CICA will contact the police force involved in the investigation of the incident directly to obtain this report.
The CICA will, however, request medical evidence from an applicant. This can come in different forms, such as a medical report, medical records or scarring photographs.
A medical report and medical records involve the CICA providing an applicant with a form to take to a medical professional to complete. Scarring photographs must be provided directly by the applicant. It is of paramount importance that these photographs are of a high standard and we have put together this guide explaining how an applicant can take the most accurate images of their scarring for this purpose.
When Mr. A was the victim of an unprovoked, violent knife attack in 2017, he came to Oakwood Solicitors seeking help with a potential CICA claim for his injuries.
He sustained a severe wound to his face which resulted in a 4-inch scar from his forehead down to his chin. He also developed PTSD following the incident and was extremely nervous about venturing outside due to how he believed people would perceive the scar and due to fear of a repeat incident.
11 months after we began a claim on his behalf, Mr. A received £16,800 in compensation (£13,500 + £3,300) for facial scarring causing serious disfigurement and for a disabling mental injury lasting over 5 years.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
For help with the CICA claims process, 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.
*The Office of National Statistics exclude Greater Manchester Police (GMP) from this figure as GMP have changed their methodology used to extract knife/sharp instrument crime, however previous data obtained has not been revised. It is therefore not possible to compare this data over time.