Rape survivor Thomas Daly says State's compensation scheme is failing victims
The system currently run by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is now under the spotlight by the Law Reform Commission
Rape survivor Thomas Daly knew he would not qualify for the State's criminal injuries compensation and never even applied for it despite his devastating trauma.
Thomas's older brother Graham, a teacher, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in January for the repeated rape of his brother Thomas.
Most of the abuse took place in the family home in Co. Limerick on dates between January 1998 and December 2002, his trial heard.
His sex-fiend sibling appealed his conviction just three weeks after being jailed for his crimes.
"In my case I waited 18 years to come forward and then it was another five or six to get to court," Thomas says.
The system currently run by the little-known Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is now under the spotlight by the Law Reform Commission with plans to revamp it.
"A lot of people would need that compensation because they're on waiting lists to see a therapist or a psychiatrist - you could be waiting years on the HSE," Thomas said.
"With that money you could see someone privately and get the help you need quicker.
"Or if they are not able to go to work, if they are suffering really badly, that money would keep them financially afloat."
Under the current rules, a victim of crime must make an application within three months of the offence and, up until 2021, didn't qualify if they were victimised by a member of the their own family.
"Victims are victims, they should not be putting them in Pile A or Pile B, we are all the same people."
Victims of crime also face long delays in getting compensation after suffering violence and have to wade through a maze of red tape to even make a claim.
Just 113 people shared €6,814,000 paid out as compensation to the victims of violent crime in 2020, according to the tribunal's last annual report.
People are also being asked for their views on how to make it easier to make an application after becoming a victim of crime.
Ireland is legally obliged under an EU directive to have a compensation scheme for people who are the victims of crime.
The commission has also launched an online survey to get a better idea of how the compensation scheme could be made to work better.
"We want to work with victims to help them participate in the re-design of the criminal compensation scheme," said Rebecca Coen, director of research at the commission.
There is no legislation in effect that sets out who is a victim of crime and what should be considered when compensation is offered.
"At the moment we are finding it to be a very bureaucratic process, it seems to have a lot of delays and barriers," Ms Coen said.
- You can make a submission to the Law Reform Commission or answer the online survey here.
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