Victims of Terrorism Overseas Compensation Scheme becomes law today
Following an announcement by Alan Johnson earlier this year the Victims of Terrorism Overseas Compensation Scheme received Royal Assent today as part of the Crime and Security Bill.
Until now, British citizens caught up in terrorism abroad received little or no financial support upon their return to the UK. A four year campaign sought equal treatment to those caught up in bombings in the UK, such as the 7/7 bombing victims who received financial support via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The new scheme will effectively extend the CICA Scheme.
In addition there will be payments made to past victims of terrorist atrocities such as those in Mumbai, Turkey, Bali, Egypt and others.
It is unclear at present what funds will be made available but campaigners are urging the Government to make payments to past victims as if under the new scheme. Lord Brennan QC urged the same when he spoke in the House or Lords last week about the Bill, having introduced the matter as a Private Members Bill in 2007.
Jill Greenfield, a personal injury partner at law firm Fieldfisher, has been heavily involved in the campaign, working with Lord Brennan QC, victims families and the Pro Bono Unit at law firm Lovells.
Jill Greenfield comments:
“This has taken many years but finally financial support will be available to those injured abroad in terrorist atrocities. This is a massive achievement for the victims and all those involved in the campaign. It must be right that whilst the scheme is not retrospective, those involved in past atrocities should receive support on the same basis. We believe that there are over 50 such victims out there and we would urge those that have not been contacted by the government so far to come forward.”