Financial assistance and compensation

Financial assistance and compensation

If you are a victim of crime, you may be able to:

Getting financial assistance

If you are a victim of crime you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal to help you recover from the effects of the crime.

Who can apply

To apply for financial assistance you must be a victim of a violent crime that caused injury or loss. Injury means actual physical bodily harm or mental impairment or emotional disorder. You must be able to show the link between the crime and the injury.

The crime must have:

  • been reported to police within a reasonable time – the police do not need to arrest anyone, or lay any charges, but the tribunal must be satisfied that a crime has taken place
  • occurred within the last two years (except in the case of certain childhood sexual crimes), although it may be possible to gain an extension of time from the tribunal.

You can apply to the tribunal even if the crime was committed by your partner or family member.

How to apply

To apply you need to fill in an Application for Assistance form and send it to the tribunal. This is free. Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal’s website has more information on how to apply.

If you have a lawyer, the tribunal may pay for your lawyer’s fees, even if they refuse your application. This is at the tribunal’s discretion. In some circumstances Victoria Legal Aid might also be able to assist you to make an application.

What assistance is available

The tribunal may help you with a range of expenses including counselling, medical, safety-related, and funeral expenses. You may also get assistance for lost earnings and other reasonable expenses to assist your recovery.

The amount of assistance you can get depends on whether you are:

  • the person injured in the crime
  • someone who witnessed a crime or is a parent of a child victim
  • a relative or dependant of someone who has died as a result of the act of violence.

See the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal’s website for the types of financial assistance available.

Compensation through the courts

If you are a victim of crime, you can get a court order for compensation if the offender is found guilty of the offence. You must apply within 12 months of the court’s decision.

You can apply to the sentencing judge to get compensation for any pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the crime. Discuss the details of your claim with a lawyer as early as possible.

If the judge makes an order for compensation, the offender is responsible for paying it. If the offender has no assets, it may be difficult to get any payment. The court will take the offender’s financial circumstances into consideration when making the order.

The Victims of Crime website has more on how to get compensation from the offender.

Sue for damages

You may also be able to take the offender to civil court to get compensation for the injury you have suffered. This will depend on whether the offender has any assets. The offender does not have to have been convicted or found guilty in a criminal court for this to happen. You can include the loss, destruction or damage of your property in your claim. Get legal advice.