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Victims of Crime

What is available to Victims of Crime in Victoria?

The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) awards financial assistance 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:

Expenses:

  • 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
  • Up to $100,000 in victims of crime assistance for distress suffered by persons close to someone who has died as a result of an act of violence – up to $50,000.00 per related victim
  • Assistance for reasonable funeral expenses
  • The total amount of assistance available to a primary victim for expenses is capped at $60,000.00 and for a secondary victim, $50,000.00.

Special Financial Assistance

In addition to expenses, a lump sum termed Special Financial Assistance may be available to a primary victim who has 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. 

Victims of Crime Compensation in Victoria

It is a common misnomer that the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal awards compensation for crime victims in Victoria. In fact, it is recognised that the State cannot adequately compensate victims of crime for the the trauma and distress suffered. Therefore, lump sum special financial assistance available from VOCAT is instead a symbolic expression by the State of the community’s sympathy and condolences to the victim of violent crime rather than complete compensation for victims of crime. 

In addition to providing you with victims of crime services, we would be pleased to discuss with you your rights in regards to seeking crimes compensation directly from the offender.

Which Victims of Crime are Eligible?

To be successful in an application for assistance, applicants must be able to show that:

  • they were the victim of an applicable crime that happened in Victoria;
  • they were injured as a result of that crime (either physically 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 application 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.

Why Apply for Victims of Crime Assistance? 

Victims who do not avail themselves of this valuable service may feel, quite apart from any financial compensation, that their plight as victims has not been recognised. Many victims otherwise are also denied the opportunity to obtain therapeutically useful counselling services. Future unforeseen costs of treatment related to the crime may also be claimed after an Award is made provided the claim for variation of an earlier Award is made within six years of the initial Award.

YourLawyer is one of the larger providers of victims of crime services in Victoria, assisting hundreds of applicants every year. Our dedicated and professional victims of crime team will assist you in obtaining the best possible result. All our victims of crime services are funded directly by VOCAT, and are provided at no cost to you.

We are available to discuss your matter with you over the phone or meet with you at one of our convenient offices in either Ringwood or Melbourne, or at our consultation rooms in Narre Warren, Geelong, Werribee and at various locations in the Gippsland and Hume regions.