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Victims of Crime Assistance (Tas)

Written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law in Victoria. Fernanda practiced law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practiced in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016. Fernanda has strong interests in Indigenous and refugee law, human rights and law reform.

The Tasmanian victims of crime assistance scheme is governed by the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1976. The scheme allows persons who have been affected by acts of violence to obtain monetary compensation for their injuries and reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of those injuries. Injuries may be physical injuries (including pregnancy) or impairments to mental health.

Compensation may be awarded where a person suffers injury as a result of a criminal offence. It may also be awarded where a person is injured by an act that would have been a criminal offence had the person been criminally responsible (for example, where the offender was not guilty by reason of insanity).

How do I apply?

Before lodging an Victims of Crime Assistance Application, you should report the offence to the police.

An application can be made by completing the application form. Provide as much detail as you can, including the name of the offender (if you know it), where and when the offence occurred and the details of the police station it was reported to. You may be asked to provide further documentation, such as medical reports.

Your application will take at least 12 months to be processed.

Who is a victim?

A victim of a violent act may be the primary victim (the person directly affected by the act of violence); a secondary victim, who has suffered indirectly as a result of the act; or a related victim, who is injured or incurs expenses as a result of the violent act.

A child can make an application but this must be lodged on their behalf by an adult.

Primary victim

A primary victim may claim compensation for:

  • expenses incurred as a result of the injury;
  • medical, dental, psychological or counselling services they will require in the future;
  • wages or salary lost as a result of the injury;
  • pain and suffering;
  • the expenses involved in claiming compensation.

Secondary victim

A secondary victim may claim compensation for:

  • expenses incurred as a result of their injury;
  • if the secondary victim is the parent, step-parent or guardian of the primary victim, expenses incurred as a result of the primary victim’s death;
  • medical, dental, psychological or counselling services they will require in the future;
  • wages or salary lost as a result of the injury or as a result of caring for the primary victim while they were injured;
  • pain and suffering;
  • the expenses involved in claiming compensation.

Related victim

A related victim, such as a spouse or immediate family member, may claim compensation for:

  • expenses incurred by the related victim as a result of their own injury;
  • expenses incurred as a result of the death or injury of the primary victim;
  • medical, dental, psychological or counselling services they will require in the future;
  • funeral expenses incurred as the result of the death of the primary victim;
  • wages or salary lost as a result of the injury or as a result of caring for the primary victim while they were injured;
  • pain and suffering;
  • if the primary victim dies, financial loss if the related victim was dependant on the primary victim;
  • the expenses involved in claiming compensation.

When is compensation not to be awarded?

Victims of Crime Assistance is not available in respect of:

  • Injuries sustained during motor vehicle accidents;
  • Loss of or damage to property;
  • In respect of any act for which compensation has already been paid;
  • For expenses claimable from a health benefits organisation.
  • Victims who have not done what should reasonably have been done to assist in the identification, apprehension and prosecution of the offender.

Recovery from offender

Where an award of compensation is made to a victim and the offender  is convicted of the offence, an order will be made directing the offender to repay the government the amount of compensation awarded.  An offender may object to such an order within 28 days of being notified of the provisional order.

Publicity of proceedings

Applications for Victims of Crime Assistance are to be made and decided in private. It is an offence to make public a report of any proceedings before the Commissioner. This includes both print and electronic publication and is punishable by a fine of up to five penalty units.

Can I appeal?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Commission makes decisions as to whether or not to grant an award. The Commissioner’s decision is final and there is no right of appeal.

If you require legal advice in relation to a victims of crime assistance matter or any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers. 

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