Guidance: Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme: a guide

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

February 14
10:05 2022

How to use this guide

This is a digital guide for people who have applied, or are thinking of applying, for compensation under the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme 2012 (we call this the Scheme). The Scheme applies to all applications received on or after 27 November 2012. This guide should be read in conjunction with the Scheme, which remains the authoritative document. You can get a copy of the Scheme at the link above or from our website.

This guide is to help you understand the Scheme. This guide is divided into helpful topics such as the eligibility rules, how to make an application, your responsibilities and how we will handle your claim. This guide will also link to the relevant sections of the Scheme or other organisations websites where appropriate.

Simply click on a topic from the contents list and this will automatically take you to that area of the guide. If you are looking for a particular keyword, press control and f and then enter the keyword in the search area.


What is the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Scheme?

The Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme is a government funded scheme designed to compensate victims who sustain a relevant injury which is directly attributable to their being a direct victim of a designated act of terrorism overseas. We, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), administer the Scheme and decide all claims.

The rules of the Scheme and the value of the payments awarded are set by Parliament and are calculated by reference to a tariff of injuries. Although the size of the award varies to reflect the seriousness of the injury, we know that it will never fully compensate you for what you have suffered or lost - it is just societys way of recognising that you have been a victim of terrorism.

Getting help with your application

Free independent advice

You do not need a paid representative such as a solicitor or claims management company to apply for compensation. Free independent advice may be available from local support or other charitable organisations. You can check what is available in your local area by visiting Victim and Witness Information website. If you belong to a trade union, they may be able to help.

If you choose paid representation we cannot meet the cost of this, and you will have to pay these costs yourself. Where someone is representing you on a no-win no-fee basis this usually means that they will keep a share of your payment to cover their fees. You may wish to check how much of your payment will go to your representative before you agree to paid representation.

If you have appointed a representative then decide that you no longer wish to be represented by them or you wish to change your representative, you must inform us. We will continue to process your claim, but we must establish whether you have settled any outstanding fees owed to your former representative. If not, the amount of fees under dispute will be held back if any award of compensation is made. This amount will be released when you and your former representative confirm, in writing, that the matter has been resolved.

Other help

You can ask a friend or a relative to represent you and help you make a claim. However, we will need confirmation from you that you are happy for them to deal with the case.

What payments are available from the Scheme?

We can consider claims for the following:

  • mental or physical injury following a designated act;
  • sexual or physical abuse;
  • loss of earnings - where you have no or limited capacity to work, lasting more than 28 weeks, as the direct result of a designated act;
  • special expenses payments - these cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of a designated act. You can only ask us to consider special expenses if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated to a similar extent for more than 28 weeks;
  • a fatality caused by a designated act including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency; and funeral payments.

Not all claims for compensation will be successful; you must be eligible under the rules of the Scheme.

Applying for compensation

The Scheme is intended to be one of last resort. Where the opportunity exists for you to pursue compensation in the United Kingdom or elsewhere you should do so. We will expect you to take all reasonable steps to obtain any social security benefits, insurance payments, damages or compensation to which you may be entitled as a result of your injuries. For example, we may ask for evidence that you have:

  • asked your employer about damages or insurance entitlements if your injury was sustained while working overseas;
  • exhausted all entitlements from your travel insurance; and
  • applied for all benefits to which you may be entitled.

We may not make a decision on your case until we are satisfied that you are eligible and you could not get compensation from any other sources. You must keep CICA informed about any other claims you are pursuing.

Regardless of whether or not you are seeking compensation or damages from other sources you should make your application to CICA as soon as possible.

Time limits for applying

You must apply as soon as it is reasonably practicable for you to do so. If you were an adult at the time of the designated act, this should normally not be later than two years after the last date of the designated act. We can only extend this time limit where:

  • due to exceptional circumstances an application could not have been made earlier; and
  • the evidence provided in support of the application means that it can be determined without further extensive enquiries by a claims officer.

Our decision will be based on the balance of probabilities. This is different from a criminal court which decides on the basis of beyond reasonable doubt. We do not need to wait for the outcome of a criminal trial if there is already enough information to make a decision on your case, so you should never make that a reason for delaying your application.

If you wish us to consider your application more than two years from the last date of the designated act you will need to provide us with evidence that shows why this application could not have been made earlier. You must also be able to provide supporting evidence for your claim that means that the claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.

Time limit for applicants under 18 years of age on the date of the designated act

Special provision is made in the Scheme if you were under 18 at the time of the designated act. Although we will consider later applications from you in those circumstances, it is best if you apply as soon as possible. If you are not able to make your own application, your parent or guardian can apply on your behalf. If an application is made close to the time of the designated act it will be easier for you to provide evidence that you were injured as the result of a designated act of terrorism.

If the designated act ended before you turned 18, and no-one made a claim on your behalf, you can make a claim to us up until the day of your 20th birthday.

However, you must also be able to provide supporting evidence with your claim that means a claims officer can make a decision without further extensive enquiries.

If you wish to apply after you have turned 20 you will also need to provide us with evidence that shows why the application could not have been made earlier.

Applying for a payment

You can apply for compensation:

  • By completing our application form which can be downloaded from our website at or sent to you by our Customer Support Team; or
  • By telephone, if you need assistance to make the application. Our Customer Support Team can assist you to make a claim over the telephone.

Telephone: 0300 003 3601
Outside the UK: +44 (0) 203 684 2517
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 0300 003 3601

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