Continuing on from last month’s article discussing our recent trip to VCAT to appeal a decision of the Victims of Crime Tribunal…
Our client was a victim of childhood sexual assault suffering extensive psychological injury as a result of the violence. She claimed from VOCAT Category A Special Financial Assistance, medical expenses for pharmaceuticals and home renovation costs as an item to assist recovery in exceptional circumstances.
VOCAT chose not to make an award deeming that she had not been a victim of crime. We took this decision to VCAT.
One aspect of VCAT’s decision that may be of interest to readers is that the alleged offender was acquitted on appeal to the offence against our client, yet VCAT determined an award should still be made. It is important for our clients and referrers to know that a criminal conviction for an act of violence does not need to be established for a VOCAT award of assistance to be made.
Under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic), an act of violence is defined as a criminal act or series of criminal acts that occurred in Victoria and directly
resulted in injury or death to one or more persons. Being able to establish that an act of violence occurred is what is needed for a VOCAT application, rather than the existence of a criminal conviction.