Special circumstances for crimes that occurred before 1 July 2016
On 1 July 2016 the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 1983 (the Repealed Act) was replaced by the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016 (the New Act). The Repealed Act made it difficult for victims to apply and limited eligibility to a smaller group of victims.
Some parts of the Repealed Act continue to apply to victims of crime who experience the act of violence before 1 July 2016. This page provides a brief overview of differences in eligibility.
Victims of crime who experienced a violent crime before 1 July 2016 may be eligible for a special assistance payment instead of a recognition payment.
A Special Assistance payment is a financial lump sum amount that can be awarded for ‘pain and suffering’. If the crime occurred before 1 July 2016, the following victims may be eligible for a special assistance payment:
- A primary victim who sustains an extremely serious injury may receive an award for special assistance of a one-off payment of $30 000.
- A primary victim of a sexual offence may be awarded special assistance in an amount determined by the Victims of Crime Commissioner up to a maximum of $50 000.
What is an extremely serious injury?
An extremely serious injury is defined as an injury consisting of the loss or impairment of a bodily function, disfigurement or a mental or emotional disturbance or disorder, where the injury:
- is permanent; and
- is extremely serious and will always be extremely serious; and
- causes a great and permanent reduction in the victim’s quality of life.
Where an application for special assistance for an extremely serious permanent psychological injury is made, the Financial Assistance Scheme team will require a report from a psychologist or psychiatrist outlining the details of the injury.
Special Assistance for sexual offences
Special assistance for victims of sexual offences consists of an amount for ‘pain and suffering’ that is a financial lump sum award.
The Financial Assistance Scheme team will require a report from a psychologist or psychiatrist outlining the impact the crime has had on the victim in order to assess an application for special assistance.
Limited eligibility for acts of violence that occurred before 1 July 2016
Family violence offences
The new Financial Assistance Scheme may be able to provide immediate need payments and economic loss payments to victims who have experienced non-physical crimes in the context of family violence. Unfortunately this new arrangement only applies to crimes that occurred on or after 1 July 2016.
Funeral assistance payments
Funeral assistance payments are only available to certain related victims where the crime occurred prior to 1 July 2016. For crimes that occurred prior to 1 July the payment will be included as part of the maximum amount payable.
Homicide witnesses are not eligible for financial assistance under the scheme if the act of violence occurred before 1 July 2016.