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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 23:00 GMT


'Fairer deal' for crime victims

Rape victims are set to get more compensation

People infected by HIV as a result of sex attacks could receive up to 25,000 as part of an overhaul of the way victims of crime are compensated.

Changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme would also introduce payments for rape victims infected with other sexually-transmitted diseases or left pregnant by the attack.

[ image: Jack Straw's shake-up comes after criticism]
Jack Straw's shake-up comes after criticism
The Home Office is proposing the maximum payments for male or female rape victims infected with HIV, while victims permanently affected by another sexually transmitted disease could claim up to 15,000.

Those temporarily affected would be eligible for up to 10,000.

Under the current scheme now under review, such victims would be entitled to payments of between 1,000 and 20,000, depending on how long the illness lasted.

The proposals also include a 12,500 sum for women made pregnant by a rapist.

The changes are among several amendments being suggested by the government in the wake of controversy over the amounts of compensation paid to victims of crime.

Home Secretary Jack Straw said the 200m-a-year scheme could never make up for people's experiences and stressed he was not proposing to free up more cash for the scheme.

But he said changes by lowering some awards, raising others, adding new categories or allowing for inflation could produce a better deal for victims.

The present scheme was introduced in 1990.

Payments range from 1,000 for an injury such as whiplash to up to 250,000 for permanent brain damage or total paralysis.

Mr Straw promised to review the tariff following an outcry over what were seen as inappropriately small payouts to an Austrian tourist gang-raped and left for dead in London, and one of the young victims of a machete attack at a primary school in Wolverhampton.

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