Information Sheet: Mental or Nervous Shock Claims

Mental or nervous shock is a legal finding, not a medical diagnosis.

For there to be a finding of mental or nervous shock, the applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

Not mental or nervous shock

Mental or nervous shock is not the same as the shock or trauma that many close family members experience when learning that a loved one was injured or killed by violent crime, nor does it include emotional and psychological injury caused by grief from: losing a loved one; caring for an injured loved one; or participating in police investigations and court proceedings.

We require medical and/or psychological evidence to support the claim for mental or nervous shock.

Mental or nervous shock claims involving children

The CICB frequently gets questions about mental or nervous shock claims involving children. The following information may help you decide whether mental or nervous shock applies in your case.

Children and domestic violence

A child who witnessed an incident of severe violence against a parent or other family member, may be eligible for compensation for mental or nervous shock if all four of the legal criteria listed above are met.

The CICB understands that children are psychologically affected by exposure to domestic violence. However, it is the degree of violence, the child's relationship to the victim and the resulting psychological injury from the shock that determine compensation.

Parents of children who are victims of violent crime

Parents of children who have been sexually abused or are victims of another violent crime are not eligible for compensation unless they meet all four criteria for mental or nervous shock listed above. The fact that the violence involved a child does not change the requirements. Parents may be eligible for other types of compensation associated with supporting the child victim (for example, expenses related to the child's treatment). The child may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering.

Other types of compensation

From the CICB

Family members who do not meet the criteria for mental or nervous shock may be eligible for other types of compensation from the CICB. For example, where there has been a death, family members may seek compensation for:

See the information sheet: Claims Arising from a Homicide for more information. You can download information sheets from our website at or call us to ask for a copy.

From the Ontario government

The Victim Quick Response Program provides eligible victims with emergency funds for certain expenses immediately following a violent crime. Applications must be made within 45 days of the crime (or 90 days for counselling expenses). Tel. GTA: 416-314-2447 or toll-free: 1-888-579-2888.

The Financial Assistance for Families of Homicide Victims program provides up to $10,000 to eligible parents and spouses/common-law partners of homicide victims. Tel. GTA: 416-212-9164 or toll free: 1-855-467-4344.

Contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Toronto area: 416-326-2900
Toll free: 1-800-372-7463
Fax: 416-326-2883

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
655 Bay Street, 14th floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3

Visit our website at

Last updated: March 2017