Information Sheet: Mental or Nervous Shock Claims

The CICB may consider awarding compensation for the injury known as "mental or nervous shock" if a person witnessed a crime of violence or saw the crime scene and experienced severe psychological trauma.

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

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

The CICB requires medical and/or psychological evidence to support the claim for mental or nervous shock.

As with all applications before the CICB, the decision to award compensation is discretionary. Even where the applicant meets all of the above criteria, the CICB will typically only award compensation for mental or nervous shock where the crime of violence is shocking to observe.

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. It does not 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.

Other types of compensation

From the CICB

Applicants who do not meet the criteria for mental or nervous shock may be eligible for other types of compensation from the CICB.

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: December 2018