Support for Victims of Crime in the ACT

Contributed by Elysha Treacy and Allison Munro from Victim Support ACT. Current at 16 December 2021.

The Victims Services Scheme

The Victims Service Scheme supports victims of crime and their families in a range of ways, including:

  • Counselling and other therapeutic services to assist in the recovery from harm as a result of being a victim of crime
  • Assistance to navigate the criminal justice system and advocacy to help victims of crime access their rights and resolve concerns raised under the Charter of Victims Rights
  • Assistance to apply to the Financial Assistance Scheme
  • Assistance to prepare a victim impact statement
  • Court support delivered by a team of skilled volunteers
  • Ongoing case coordination, including working collaboratively with specialist services and support with safety planning
  • Provision of information about reporting a crime to police and court processes

All victims of crime committed in the ACT are eligible for two contact hours of counselling or other therapeutic supports and additional contact hours are available to victims of violent crimes (see s34 of Victims of Crime Regulation 2000 and Sch 1, Division 1.2.1 of Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016 for a full list of eligible violent crimes). A Victim Support ACT case coordinator will work with a victim of crime to prepare a plan outlining the goals of the counselling or therapeutic services and refer the victim to an approved provider for appropriate support. Approved providers that can provide support to victims of crime under the Scheme include social workers, counsellors, psychologists, and massage therapists.

Financial Assistance Scheme (including lodging an application)

Victims of violent crime committed in the ACT on or after 1 July 1983 can apply to the Financial Assistance Scheme under the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016. The scheme is administrative in nature and does not require a victim to attend court. (Applications to the ACT Magistrates Court prior to 1 July 2016 were made under a different scheme. These applications will continue to be processed by the ACT Magistrates Court with assistance from the ACT Government Solicitor).

The purpose of the Financial Assistance Scheme is to:

  • Assist victims of crime to recover from acts of violence
  • Contribute to the safety of victims of crime and the prevention of future acts of violence
  • Acknowledge the harmful effects of acts of violence
  • Complement other services provided for victims of crime

Victims of crime may apply for ‘immediate needs’ payments to assist with immediate expenses, for example, emergency medical expenses, relocation expenses and personal security expenses including changing locks. Victims of crime may also apply for ‘economic loss’ payments for reimbursement of costs including counselling and psychological support, loss of earnings and non-emergency medical expenses. Where a person has died as a result of homicide the Scheme can assist with funeral expenses.

In some circumstances a ‘recognition payment’ can be made to acknowledge the trauma that results from an act of violence that has been reported to police. The amount of the recognition payment will depend upon the type and circumstances of the crime and payment amounts are set out in the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Regulation 2016.

Application forms for the Financial Assistance Scheme are available on Victim Support ACT website and Victim Support ACT case coordinators can assist victims of crime to prepare their application.

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