The chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal has said that an increase in the number of tribunal members allowed it to deal with more appeals last year.
Conor Heaney said that a decision to hold hearings virtually had also contributed to the rise in the number of files considered.
The number of members was doubled from seven to 14 last year, as part of a reform of how the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme operates
The scheme provides compensation to victims of violent crime in the State. It has been in place since 1974, but had been revised only once before last year.
The tribunal also administers a separate compensation scheme for prison officers who suffer personal injuries due to a violent crime experienced in the course of their duties.
COVID-19 affects applications
Its 2021 annual report shows that the tribunal received 182 applications last year – 118 under the general scheme, and 64 under the prison-officer scheme.
The figure for the general scheme was up from 114 in 2020, but well below the 145 received in 2019.
The tribunal says that the reduced number of applications in 2020 and 2021 may reflect the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on level of violent crime.
The body held 42 hearings last year, all remote, with 28 linked to the general compensation scheme. This was a significant increase from the 18 appeals heard in 2020.
The number of files sent to tribunal members also rose – from 335 in 2020 to 455 last year.
Decisions now published
The report shows that 120 applicants accepted and received awards totalling just under €2.3 million last year from the tribunal under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Under the prison-officer scheme, there were 57 awards, worth €1.5 million, accepted and received by applicants.
After changes to the scheme last year, decisions of the tribunal are now being made available publicly. These are redacted to remove personal data.