Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
84. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality his plans for a system in which the victims of crime receive compensation from perpetrators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51703/17]
I have no plans currently to introduce a system of compensation as proposed in this question. This is because section 6 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 gives the courts a statutory power to order a person convicted of an offence to pay compensation to a person who has suffered personal injury or loss resulting from the offence. This is instead of or in addition to dealing with the offender in any other way, unless it sees reason to the contrary.
The Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill, which is currently being drafted, will replace the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 with modern provisions dealing with community sanctions and the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system. The Bill will amend section 6 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 to disconnect the payment of compensation from the sentencing of the offender. The amendment will provide that a compensation order can only be made in addition to any other sanction, and not instead of a sanction.
As the Deputy may also be aware, persons injured as a result of a crime may be eligible for compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted which was established on a non-statutory basis in 1974. This cash-limited scheme provides for ex-gratia compensation in respect of vouched expenses and losses incurred as a result of personal injuries, including fatal injuries, which are directly attributable to a crime of violence. It is funded by my Department and is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal which is independent in considering applications.
It is also possible for a victim of crime to take a civil case for compensation against an offender. It is a matter for the victim and their legal team to take any such case.