Victoria Legal Aid

Financial assistance and compensation

Victims of crime may be able to get financial assistance from the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal, or compensation from the person who committed the crime.

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 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. An injury may be physical or psychological. You must be able to show the link between the crime and your 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 if you have a good reason for the delay.

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

How to apply

To apply for financial assistance, you need to fill in an ‘Application for Assistance form’ and send it to the tribunal. This is free. The tribunal’s website has more information on how to applyExternal Link .

If you have a lawyer, the tribunal may pay for your lawyer’s fees, even if they refuse your application. This is up to the tribunal. Sometimes we might also be able to help you 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 a payment to cover lost earnings and other reasonable expenses to help your recovery.

The amount of money you can get also 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 because of the crime.

See the tribunal’s website for the types of financial assistance availableExternal Link .

Compensation through the courts

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

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

If the court makes an order for compensation, the offender must pay it. If the offender does not own anything they could use to compensate you, it may be difficult to get any payment. The court will consider the offender’s financial situation when making any order.

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

Sue for damages

You may also be able to make a civil claim against the offender to get compensation for the injury you have suffered. This will depend on whether the offender has any assets (money or other things they own). 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 other support for victims of crime.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 09 March 2023

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