The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal awarded just over €6.3 million to 192 victims of violent crime last year, its annual report shows.
The body administers a scheme that provides compensation to victims of violent crime in the State, as well as a separate compensation scheme for prison officers who suffer personal injuries due to a violent crime experienced in the course of their duties.
Last year, 91 applicants also received awards totalling €1.7 million under the prison-officer scheme.
Writing in the report, the chair of the tribunal Conor Heaney said that changes to the scheme introduced in 2021 had led to an increase in the number of appeals that the body heard last year.
Heaney referred to a doubling in the number of members of the tribunal from seven to 14, as well as the increased use of remote hearings.
Last year, the scheme received 236 applications – 162 under the general scheme and 74 under the prison-officer scheme.
While the figure for the general scheme represents a significant increase compared with 2020 and 2021, the report warns that COVID-19 restrictions may have had an impact on the numbers. It points out that 238 applications under the general scheme were received in 2019.
The figure for the prison-officer scheme was up 15% compared with 2021.
Hearings more than doubled
The tribunal held 103 hearings last year – all but two of which were remote. The number of hearings more than doubled compared with the 42 recorded in 2021. Of the 2022 hearings, 55 were linked to the criminal-injuries scheme, and 48 to prison officers.
The report points out that 2022 was the first full year of operation with 14 tribunal members, while pandemic restrictions may also have had an impact on the previous two years.
The number of files sent to tribunal members in 2022 jumped by more than 160% to 1,203.
As well as the chair, the tribunal comprises a panel of qualified barristers and solicitors. The report shows that they received a total of just under €309,000 in fees last year.