Have you been a victim of a violent crime?

You may be eligible for financial assistance through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. Many victims don’t access this state-funded service due to the paperwork and the processing time. Leave it to us, we’re on your side.
What is available to Victims of Crime in Victoria?

The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) aims to assist victims of crime to recover from the crime by paying them financial assistance for expenses incurred by them as a result of the crime. You may also be entitled to seek compensation from the offender.

VOCAT was established by the Victorian government to acknowledge and provide financial assistance to eligible victims of violent crime committed in Victoria. The purpose of an Award is to assist recovery from the crime and to acknowledge the injury or loss suffered. Victims of crime in Victoria may be eligible to receive a range of assistance including expenses and special financial assistance.

EXPENSES:

VOCAT may pay victims of crime financial assistance for expenses incurred, including:

  1. Counselling expenses
  2. Medical and dental expenses
  3. Safety-related expenses including the option of relocating
  4. Loss of earnings
  5. Loss or damage to clothing worn at the time of the incident
  6. Distress suffered by a person close to someone who has died as a result of an applicable crime
  7. Reasonable funeral expenses
  8. Other expenses to assist the victim’s recovery

SPECIAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

In addition to expenses, a lump sum termed Special Financial Assistance may be available to certain victims who have suffered significant adverse effects as a result of the crime committed against them.

While the State cannot adequately compensate a victim, this payment is a symbolic expression of the community’s sympathy and recognition of the significant suffering endured by the victim. (In some circumstances, compensation may be recovered from the offender or a party that owes a duty of care.)

ACCESSING ASSISTANCE

Victims of crime are encouraged to access the assistance that VOCAT provides.

YourLawyer is concerned for your welfare. In the first instance, accessing counselling support and the assistance with expenses can be a significant step in aiding your recovery. Further, many victims find that the recognition of their suffering is, of itself, a major beneficial effect of the process.

We encourage you to give us a call and discuss your matter with us.

Unfortunately, the VOCAT process often takes months to complete. Please do not delay calling us as the sooner you access the assistance, the sooner your recovery can commence.

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 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?

This is a valuable service that recognises victims have suffered a great deal and have real needs. Not taking up the support that is being offered can delay the recovery process prolonging the impact of the crime. Many victims fail to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain therapeutically useful counselling services. Once victims are in the program they have access to further claims for assistance as new needs arise.

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.