VOCAT – Crimes Compensation
Our firm is committed to showing respect, compassion and understanding when assisting with Victims of Crime applications.
With over 30 years' experience in crimes compensation claims, our team has an understanding of what is expected by the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. We strive to do the best we can for our clients and embrace any initiatives to improve the scheme through our participation at regular User Group meetings.
Assistance for victims of criminal acts
In Victoria, victims of crime may be entitled to financial assistance to reflect that they have been a victim of crime.
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. Assistance varies according to the type of crime that took place.
Applications for assistance must be made through a tribunal called the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal or VOCAT.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas has an expert team spread across Victoria and able to assist you in Melbourne, Dandenong, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Colac, Geelong, Werribee, Pakenham, Frankston, Epping and Glenroy.
Who can claim for victim assistance?
The Tribunal considers various levels of assistance, recognising that there are several ways in which a victim may be affected by a crime.
Primary victims are those who have been directly affected, 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;
- Helping the victim of a violent act.
Secondary victims are those injured as a result of witnessing a violent act. If the primary victim is under 18, their parents or guardians of that person may also be considered secondary victims and entitled to assistance trhough the scheme.
Where the primary victim of an act of violence dies, close family members, dependents and any person in an intimate personal relationship with the victim may be entitled to assistance.
A person who pays medical and funeral expenses following the death of a primary victim of crime is also entitled to apply for reimbursement of those expenses.
How much assistance is available?
Benefits are paid either as reimbursement of expenses, loss of earnings or directly to providers for future expenses.
Primary Victims may also receive a payment as special financial assistance. Acts of violence committed on or after 1st July 2007 may attract the following:
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 assault against a person
– Armed robbery
– Aggravated burglary
– Demanding any ransom for release
|$1,300 - $3,250|
|Category C level of violence
– An attempt to commit a B-level act of violence:
– Threat of death
– Conduct endangering life
– Inflicting serious injury
|$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|
| Primary victims - benefits tied to expenses or loss of earnings
Medical,counselling or other expenses, past or future, including loss of income over two years of up to $20,000.
|Up to $60,000 maximum|
Secondary victims - benefits tied to expenses or loss of earnings
|Medical, counselling and other expenses, past or future, 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, past or future, including loss of earnings over two years of up to $20,000. Up to $60,000 maximum. NB: Total benefit is capped to $100,000 in total for all related victims where there is more than one.||Up to $50,000 for one person|
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 in a higher category.
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.
Significant cases and milestones
The firm regularly represents victims of crime in applications for assistance to the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. It has also represented many clients in review applications to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in cases where the victim has not received as much assistance as they should under the scheme.
In Pham v Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal  VSCA 102, the firm argued successfully in the Court of Appeal that the cap on assistance for loss of earnings under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 applies after any deductions for compensation received from other sources are made. The judgment means that victims of crime in Victoria who have received compensation for loss of earnings from other sources are up to $20,000 better off under the Act.
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.
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