Compensation for victims of criminal acts
In Victoria, victims of crime may be entitled to financial compensation for any pain, suffering or financial distress suffered as a result of criminal acts.
For you or a family member to have a claim, the crime must have occurred in Victoria and be punishable by imprisonment. Even if the offender has not been found guilty of the crime, or has not been identified by the police, you may still have a claim. Compensation varies according to the type of crime sustained and how immediate the impact has been on the victim.
Applications for compensation must be made through a tribunal called the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal or VOCAT.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas has victims of crime compensation lawyers across Victoria including Melbourne, Dandenong, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Colac, Geelong, Werribee, Pakenham, Frankston, Epping and Glenroy who can advise you on making a claim for compensation.
Who can claim for victim compensation?
The Tribunal considers various levels of compensation, recognizing that there are several ways in which a victim may be affected by a crime, ranging from those people who are the immediate victim through to people who may have witnessed a crime and the family of the victim on whom the crime may have had an impact.
Primary victims are those who have been affected directly. They have been injured, even killed, or have property damaged, typically when:
- An act of violence is committed against them;
- Trying to prevent a crime or indeed detain someone they believe to have committed a crime; or
- Helping rescue a victim of crime.
Secondary victims are those injured as a result of witnessing a violent act or coming to the aid and rescue of a primary victim. If the primary victim is under 18, their parents or guardians may also be considered secondary victims and entitled to compensation.
If the primary victim of an act of violence dies, close family members, dependents or those in an intimate personal relationship with the victim may be entitled to compensation.
A person who pays funeral expenses following the death of a primary victim of crime is also entitled to financial compensation.
How large a compensation payout?
Benefits are paid either as reimbursement of expenses or loss of earnings, or, for primary victims, as special financial assistance payments. Acts of violence committed on or after 1st July 2007 may attract the following:
Primary victims - benefits tied to expenses or loss of earnings
|Medical, counselling or other expenses including loss of income over two years of up to $20,000||Up to $60,000|
Primary victims - Special Financial Assistance payments
|Category A level of violence
||$4,667 - $10,000|
|Category B level of violence
||$1,300 - $3,250|
|Category C level of violence
||$650 - $1,300|
|Category D level of violence
||$130 - $650|
Secondary victims - benefits tied to expenses or loss of earnings
|Medical, counselling and other expenses including loss of earnings over two years of up to $20,000||Up to $50,000|
Related victims - benefits tied to expenses or loss of earnings
|Medical, counselling and other expenses. including loss of earnings over two years of up to $20,000.
NB: Total benefit is capped to $100,000 in total for all related victims where there is more tthan one.
|Up to $50,000|
Victims who are elderly, impaired, mentally ill, intellectually disabled, a child under 18 or victims of related criminal acts may be entitled to special financial assistance.
This also applies to victims who have been infected with a very serious disease or have suffered a very serious or serious injury or a deprivation of liberty.
How do I make a claim?
1. Report the incident
Make a formal report to the police and keep a copy of the statement.
2. Seek appropriate treatment
Let your doctor and/or counsellor know how the injury occurred.
3. Keep records
Record all time off work and keep treatment and medical receipts.
4. Seek legal advice.
The Tribunal covers legal fees and medical and police report costs. For advice on your entitlements and assistance in making a claim, call or find us at an office near you.
Before you make a claim
The crimes compensation scheme requires victims to claim entitlements to compensation from other sources before applying to VOCAT. If the criminal act occurred at work or as a result of driving of motor vehicle, you may have other entitlements under the WorkSafe or Transport Accident (TAC) scheme or from an insurance company.