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flawed system Abuse survivor Shaneda Daly calls for reform of 'backward' victim's compensation scheme

The Law Reform Commission says seized gangland cash could to be given to victims of crime

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Shaneda Daly

Shaneda Daly

Shaneda Daly

An ABUSE survivor has backed calls for a reform of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme after a major report found the current system in place can often add to the anguish of crime victims.

At present, the scheme is administered by the Department of Justice, with decisions on compensation being made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.

However, a Law Reform Commission research study has highlighted how shortcomings mean victims of serious crime often have to endure delays and procedural obstacles when seeking compensation.

They have suggested money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau from gangland criminals could be used to fund the scheme.

Shaneda Daly, who was abused from the age of four by her father, a former Limerick prison officer, said she thought it was “disgusting” that victims had to “go and fight another bloody system” to get compensation.

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Harry Daly seen here on his release from Arbour Hill Prison in 2018.

Harry Daly seen here on his release from Arbour Hill Prison in 2018.

Harry Daly seen here on his release from Arbour Hill Prison in 2018.

“I’m not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination,” Shaneda said. “I’d fight for anybody’s rights, male or female.

“But I have to say that the way women, in particular, have been treated in Ireland, like with the mother and baby homes, and the laundries, and with this compensation scheme, just goes to show how backward the country is.

“But the fact that every person, no matter what crime has happened to them, has to then go up against a Government body j to get some compensation, just adds to their ordeal.

“The fact is, that as a victim you may not have a choice, as you’ll be no longer able to work,” Shaneda said.

“I’ve spoken to women who have lost children through murder. How are they supposed to just go back to work?’

The Law Reform Commission said that a compelling argument could be made for “a full redesign” of the system and a new body to run it that is properly and consistently funded and staffed.

It found that in some cases victims are required to repeatedly revisit details of the violent crimes they have been subjected to, which “can actually compound the stress and anguish”.

Shaneda said that even with the scheme that is in place, she had heard stories of how it can take up to 20 years for some people to get compensation.

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Abuse survivor Shaneda Daly

Abuse survivor Shaneda Daly

Abuse survivor Shaneda Daly

Shaneda has recently published a harrowing account of her ordeal that reveals how her father, Harry Daly, sexually abused her almost every day from the age of four, often when her mother and siblings were in the same house.

She revealed how she was not entitled to compensation as she lived under the same roof as her abuser.

“In my case I was not even entitled to compensation under the ‘same roof’ rule. I have no physical injuries but because I lived under the same roof as my abuser, I can't make a claim.

“Also, you’re supposed to make a claim within two years of the incident happening. But for many people, particularly if they were abused as a child, it only comes out later, as an adult.

“In which case you’re well past two years.

“And if you’ve been that badly traumatised you may not have the ability to go and face someone questioning you about what happened.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as just sitting down and talking to someone. It’s not a welcoming process. In some cases, you have to go through the trauma all over again.”

The commission has suggested a variety of ways in which funding could be contributed, such as through court fines and the allocation of money forfeited to the State as the proceeds of crime.

It said it will also be key for there to be “minimal procedural hurdles” and that it be operated compassionately, in a way that is sensitive to victims’ trauma throughout the application process.

One of the other issues that the Law Reform Commission will examine is the eligibility for awards and on what basis some have been excluded from the current scheme.

For instance, to receive an award under the current rules, an applicant must detail how their injury as a result of a crime involved accruing a minimum of €500 in expenses.

The applicant must also have provided “reasonable assistance” to the scheme’s tribunal and if the tribunal deems “the conduct of the victim, their character or way of life" is not to the tribunal’s approval it “can refuse the claim in its entirety or reduce the amount of the award”.

The LRC points out that the criterion relating to eligibility is “arguably overly broad and vague” and that it “is not clear what ‘character or way of life’ means as laid out by the scheme.

The commission is seeking submissions from the public from until April 19 before compiling its final report which will be sent to government.

- The Commission seeks the views of consultees on the issues raised in this Consultation Paper by 19th April 2022. the Consultation Paper will be available on the Commission's website, www.lawreform.ie

- Responses can be submitted to the Commission by email: VictimCompensation@lawreform.ie

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