Under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act, victims of a violent crime by one person against another may be able to claim for financial assistance through the government if they are unable to recover monies from the offender.
Victims Support Services processes applications for the Victims Assistance Unit.
The role of the Victims Assistance Unit is to:
- liaise with applicants and keep them informed as to the progress of an application
- provide administrative support to the Commissioners
Independent Criminal Injuries Compensation Commissioners decide whether compensation is appropriate and determine the level of financial assistance to be awarded.
Who can apply for financial assistance
Anyone who has suffered an injury (physical or psychological) as a result of a violent crime in Tasmania may be able to apply for Victims of Crime Assistance.
This may include:
- the victim of a violent crime (known as the primary victim),
- a secondary victim such as somebody who has witnessed a violent crime, or a parent of a child victim, or
- a related victim, such as a spouse, partner or an immediate family member
Children under the age of 18 can also apply for Victims of Crime Assistance, but their application must be lodged by an adult such as a parent or guardian.
If an award is made to an applicant under 18 the funds may be paid to a Trustee to administer the money on behalf of the applicant.
Any offence should be reported to the police.
Who is not eligible
- Where the offence occurred in another state
- The injury is resulting out of the use of a motor vehicle. This is covered by the Motor Accidents Insurance Board.
- For damage to, loss or theft of property
- Offences prior to 4 August 1976
Time limits on claims
Applications for Victims of Crime Assistance are subject to prescribed time limits.
If an adult at the time of the offence, an application for financial assistance should be lodged within three (3) years from the date of the offence.
For a child victim at the time of the offence, an application for financial assistance should be lodged within three (3) years of the child victim reaching the age of 18 years.
However, Commissioners have discretion to extend the prescribed time limit in 'special circumstances' where an Extension of Time Application is lodged.
Information about how to complete the application form is included with the Extension of Time Application Form (PDF, 238.3 KB) or the Extension of Time Application Form (DOCX, 288.8 KB).
Please note that if the offence occurred prior to 4 August 1976 there is no basis for an application.
Making a claim
You can prepare your own application for Victims of Crime Assistance, by completing a Victims of Crime Assistance Application Form (PDF, 408.9 KB) or a Victims of Crime Assistance Application Form (DOCX, 177.6 KB).
Please give as much detail as you can about the date of the offence, the police station it was reported to, the name of the investigating officer, the name of the offender (if known), as well as how the crime has affected you.
The application form is a statutory declaration and is required to be completed and witnessed prior to making a claim.
Once an application has been received, a Criminal Injuries Compensation Commissioner will review the documentation and decide if your application meets legislative requirements and if any other documents are required.
Victims Support Services will let you know if any further documents are needed. For example, you may need to provide supporting information such as a report from a psychologist, doctor or dentist, which outlines the injuries you have sustained.
If required, Victims Support Services will obtain information from Tasmania Police or the courts on your behalf.
Allow at least 12 months for your application to be processed. This will depend on the availability of police files, medical reports and other substantiating information.
Sometimes you may also have to wait for the outcome of the case in the court.
Not all applications for Victims of Crime Assistance are accepted.
A Commissioner will decide when your application is complete and Victims Support Services will arrange your hearing.
A hearing is your opportunity to explain how the crime has affected your life. You can bring a support person, such as a counsellor, family member or friend.
The offender will not be present and the hearings are held regularly in friendly and comfortable venues in Hobart, Launceston, and Burnie.
Attending a hearing provides you with the opportunity to tell your story in a casual, comfortable environment.
If you don't feel comfortable attending a hearing, or don't want to talk to anyone face to face, you can have a telephone hearing or the Commissioners are able to decide applications based on the documents provided.
Contested hearings are held for applications that have not met legislative requirements but applicants still wish to meet face to face with a Commissioner to state their case.
Awards and payments
Awards range from $0 - $51,531 depending on the category of victim and the effects of the crime. The Commissioner is the only person who can decide the award amount.
Categories of victims are as follows:
- Primary Victim, or a person against whom an offence of violence has been committed (Maximum $30,918 for a single offence, or a maximum $51,531 where there is more than one offence)
- Secondary Victim, such as someone who witnessed the crime, or the parent/guardian of a primary victim who is under 18 (maximum $20,612)
- Related Victim, such a spouse, partner or immediate family member of a primary victim (maximum $10,306).
The Commissioner may make an award for future medical and counselling expenses in addition to the maximum.
Once a Commissioner has decided the application, they will prepare a 'Reason for Decision' document. You will be provided with a copy. If a payment for an award has been granted it will be deposited directly into your bank account. Please provide your bank account details in the space provided on your application.
Who can help
Please contact Victims Support Services if you have any questions or experience difficulty with the application process on (03) 6165 7524 or (toll free) on 1300 663 773 between the hours of 8.45am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday or email email@example.com.