Published: 08 November 2019
Author: Sharon Barnes
You can vary an application for Victims of Crime assistance if there are complications
You may have been the victim of a violent crime and have made an application for assistance under the Victims of Crime Act. Then things get worse.
What happens? Can you go back and change your application?
The answer is yes.
Often injuries are not stabilised and further treatment is required or in the case of stress and anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, an exacerbation can occur.
If further treatment is required as a result of the original crime a variation can be applied for.
Victims of Crime Applications can be pursued for victims of an act of violence and once finalised a victim has six years to apply for variations to Awards made or in the case of a child they can apply for variations until they turn 24 years of age.
An Application for Assistance should be made within two years of the act of violence but for a child victim the Application can be made at any time.
Generally, an Application will be finalised within approximately 6 – 12 months but variations for further expenses incurred or likely to be incurred can be applied for within six years or in the case of a child until they turn 24 years of age.
How to apply for a variation
In applying for a variation you will need to make it clear that the exacerbation is as a result of the crime, and you will need to supply receipts for any expenses you have incurred - or quotes for the expected expenses. A statement of support is usually best from a treating psychologist, dentist or medical practitioner.
Most variations are for medical treatment but they are not limited to medical treatment.
In the case of physical injuries you may apply for further Special Financial Assistance if your injuries become permanent and that was not the case at the time your original Award was made. If an Award was made for a lower category you may be able to apply for an uplift if the injuries become a long term permanent disability.
Safety-related expenses can also be a variation if circumstances have changed since the original Award was made and that is often if an offender is released from custody.
A variation application will usually go back to the same tribunal member but is on the original file so all material obtained at that time is still there.
Legal representation for a variation is not always required if the applicant has the support and the expense details. All applications must include the Tribunal’s reference number and there is no discretion to apply for a variation beyond the six-year time limit.