Victims of crime can recover compensation from a tribunal. The amounts are limited to maximums set out in the legislation; the victim’s own criminal history and access to other compensation are taken into account. There are services for primary, secondary and related victims of crime, including a helpline and a referral service, counselling, and a network of assistance programs that respond to a crisis in person and by telephone. There must be an act of violence causing injury, reported in reasonable time. This chapter also outlines the claims procedure.

Contributor

Thracy Vinga

Barrister

Overview of legislation related to victims of crime

Last updated

1 July 2020

Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)

The Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic) (‘VOCA Act’) established the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT). The Act applies to applications for assistance lodged after 1 July 1997 regardless of when the crime occurred (see cl 5 sch 1).

Victims of Crime Assistance (Amendment) Act 2000 (Vic)

The Victims of Crime Assistance (Amendment) Act 2000 (Vic) applies to crimes committed on or after 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2007, and also has retrospective application for some victims of childhood sexual assault. This amending Act reinstated compensation for pain and suffering (now called ‘special financial assistance’) to primary victims. They are no longer limited to just claiming expenses (e.g. medical expenses and loss of earnings), as had been the case since 1 July 1997.

The other important change brought about by the 2000 amending Act is that a victim does not have to have suffered a diagnosable injury; they may qualify for special financial assistance if they have a ‘significant adverse effect’ as a result of the violence (e.g. trauma or distress).

Victims of Crime Assistance Amendment Act 2007 (Vic)

The Victims of Crime Assistance Amendment Act 2007 (Vic) increased the amount of special financial assistance that can be awarded for crimes committed on or after 1 July 2007.

Under the 2000 legislation, primary victims are entitled to receive special financial assistance up to $7500.

Under the 2007 legislation, primary victims are entitled to receive special financial assistance up to $10 000.

The amount awarded in either case depends on:

  • the category of the act of violence or crime (as set out in the regulations); and
  • the extent of the ‘injury’ or ‘significant adverse effect’ as a result of the crime.

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