What is available to Victims of Crime in Victoria?
The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) awards financial assistance, often termed compensation, to victims of violent crime against their person. The purpose of an Award is to acknowledge the injury or loss suffered and to assist recovery from the crime. Victims of crime in Victoria may be eligible to receive a range of assistance, including:
Counselling and medical expenses
Safety related expenses
Loss or damage to clothing worn at the time of the incident
Loss of earnings – up to $20,000.00
$100,000 in victims of crime assistance for distress suffered by a person close to someone who has died as a result of an act of violence – up to $50,000.00 per victim
Assistance for reasonable funeral expenses
In additional, special lump sum financial assistance may be available to victims of crime who have suffered significant adverse effects as a result of the crime committed against them of up to $10,000.00 depending on the type of violence suffered. Please note that the total amount of assistance available to a primary victim is capped at $60,000.00.
Which Victims of Crime are Eligible?
In order to make a successful victims of crime assistance claim, applicants must meet two criteria:
Must be able to show they were the victim of an applicable crime that happened in Victoria;
Must be able to show that they were injured as a result of that crime (either psychically or psychologically).
Victims also have an obligation to report the crime to the police within a reasonable period.
The standard of proof required in a victims of crime matter is generally much lower than that required in criminal proceedings, and normally matters can be determined without the need to appear at a hearing.
Applications should be made within two years of the crime, although in extenuating circumstances extensions can be obtained.
Applicants may be injured victims of violent crime, or injured witnesses. They may also be parents of injured children who have suffered adverse effects of becoming aware of their children’s injury. They may also be close family members of a victim who have died as a direct result of a crime of violence.