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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 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

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

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.

Related victims

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
– Attempted murder
– Sexual penetration
$4,667 - $10,000
Category B level of violence
– Attempted sexual penetration
– Indecent act with or assualt against a person
– Armed robbery
– Aggravated burglary
– Demanding any ransom for release
$1,300 - $3,400
Category C level of violence
– An attempt to commit a B-level act of violence:
– Threat of death
– Conduct endagering life
– Inflicting serious injury
– Robbery
$650 - $1,300
Category D level of violence
– An attempt to commit a C-level act of violence:
– A threat of injury
– An assault against a person
– An attempted assault
$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 than 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?

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 WorkCover or Transport Accident (TAC) scheme or from an insurance company.

Click here to provide details to assist in preparation of a claim for Victims of Crime compensation. Once you have completed and submitted our online questionnaire, we will contact you within one business day to discuss your claim further.

Call 1300 366 441 or find us at an office near you for advice on compensation for Victims of Crime.