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Financial Support for Victims of Crime

This article discusses financial support for victims of crime including support available, eligibility and how to apply.  The Victims Support Scheme, established under the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW), provides support and assistance for victims of violent crime. This scheme offers counselling, financial assistance and recognition payments to those affected by acts of violence or modern slavery.

What support is available?

The Victims Support Scheme is designed to cater to various aspects of recovery and assistance. Available support includes:

Counselling

Victims of violence often endure psychological and emotional trauma. The scheme provides counselling services to help individuals recover from the profound impact of a crime.

Financial Support for Immediate Needs

Victims may require immediate financial aid to cover urgent expenses related to health, safety or security resulting from violent crime or modern slavery.

Financial Assistance for Economic Loss

This aspect of the scheme is designed to cover other expenses incurred due to violent crime or modern slavery. It can encompass various elements such as lost earnings, medical expenses and even justice-related expenses.

Funeral Expenses

The scheme extends assistance to cover funeral expenses on behalf of family members of homicide victims, helping ease the financial burden during a particularly difficult time.

Recognition Payment

A recognition payment is provided to acknowledge that an individual has been a victim of violent crime or modern slavery. This not only recognises the suffering but also aims to assist in the healing process.

Who Can Apply for Support?

Anyone who has sustained injuries due to an act of violence or modern slavery that occurred within NSW can apply for support. However, there are specific eligibility criteria and time frames in place.

The type of support an individual receives will depend on their unique circumstances. It’s important to be aware that some individuals may not be eligible for support, even if they are victims of a crime. For more information on those who are not eligible, refer to section 25 of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW). Additionally, certain circumstances can lead to support being declined or the amount reduced; these are outlined in section 44 of the Act.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Eligibility Categories for Victims of Crime

The Victims Support Scheme categorises victims into three distinct groups, each with its own eligibility criteria:

Primary Victim of Crime

A primary victim is an individual who directly suffers injury or death as a result of an act of violence. This category also includes individuals who attempt to prevent violence, those who come to the aid of a victim and those who attempt to apprehend the perpetrator. Primary victims can be awarded up to $30,000 for economic losses, including lost earnings, medical expenses, justice-related costs and damage to personal effects. They can also receive up to $5,000 in financial assistance for immediate needs.

Secondary Victim of Crime

Secondary victims are those who suffer injury from witnessing an act of violence resulting in injury or death to another person. This category also encompasses individuals who become injured upon learning about the act of violence if they are the parent or guardian of the primary victim (and the primary victim is under 18). Secondary victims can receive up to $30,000 for economic losses.

Family Victim of Crime

A family victim is an immediate family member of a primary victim who has died due to an act of violence. Immediate family members include spouses, partners, parents, guardians, children or siblings of the primary victim. Family victims can be awarded up to $9,500 for funeral expenses and up to $5,000 for expenses associated with criminal or coronial proceedings. They are also eligible for up to $5,000 in financial assistance for immediate needs.

The Victims Rights and Support Regulation 2013 (NSW) specifies the maximum amounts that can be awarded to different categories of victims for various types of losses.

Who Is Not Eligible?

A person is not eligible for support if the person has received compensation awarded by a court, if the act arose as a consequence of a motor vehicle accident (except intentional killings), if the act occurred while engaged in criminal behaviour or if the act occurred while the person was a convicted inmate of a prison (unless there are exceptional circumstances).

How do Victims of Crime Apply for Support

To initiate an application, you will need to submit an application form along with a copy of your current government-issued ID. Depending on the specific type of support you’re seeking, additional information and documents may be required.

To seek assistance, victims must provide evidence of any economic loss or immediate needs they are claiming. This evidence may include documents related to loss of earnings, medical or dental bills, justice expenses (e.g. victim impact statements) and other relevant expenses.

In general, any application must be made within two years of the act of violence, or within two years of the victim turning 18 if they are a child. However, there is an extended timeframe for recognition payments related to domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault, which can be made up to 10 years after the act of violence.

The criminal lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight are experts in this area and happy to assist you.  We can provide advice regarding your eligibility, prepare an application and legally represent you.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

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