Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Survivors of terror attacks in the UK have described the government’s compensation scheme as “broken” in a new report.
More than 130 survivors from 11 attacks were surveyed by support network Survivors Against Terror.
Respondents included survivors from the Fishmongers’ Hall stabbings in London in 2019, and the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.
A government spokesperson said “we know more must be done” to address needs.
More than two-thirds of survey respondents said they felt the scheme was “unfair and unreasonable”.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has been in place since the 1990s, and handles claims from people who have suffered physical or mental injuries as a result of violent crime in England, Scotland and Wales. It is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.
More than half of survivors surveyed said they felt unable to speak to someone from CICA for help and some 60% did not feel it was easy to submit their compensation claim – and that the information provided by CICA was unclear or not easy to understand.
Of the survivors asked, 62% did not feel treated with respect and empathy, compared with 17% who felt they were.
Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt were killed in the 2019 attack at Fishmongers’ Hall
In 2019, the government committed to a new Survivors’ Charter which would guarantee rights for survivors to mental health and legal support, something Survivors Against Terror said has not happened.
Some members said they were still waiting for compensation, with one reporting that their file had been lost.
Joanne McSorley, who was hit by 31 pieces of shrapnel in the Manchester Arena bombing, told the BBC that she had been “degraded” by being repeatedly told to prove the severity of her injuries.
She said she had been offered £25,000 after a process that took six years.
“I am housebound, really. I can’t even put my own shoes on, or my coat. It is a life that’s very, very different,” she said.
“I put my faith in the systems and in the government. This was a terror attack, so I thought, well of course we’ll be looked after. But that didn’t happen.
“I feel totally degraded by the process because you’re having to prove all the time you are still in that state.