Why You Should Claim Compensation as a Victim of Crime

man with broken arm talking to woman

Victims of crime are entitled to compensation to help manage expenses relating to their experience. If you have been the victim of a crime and you are injured, need counselling, or have lost income, you can claim for financial assistance. We take a look at the reasons why you should always claim compensation as a victim of crime.

Claiming Compensation is Always Free

Many people who have been a victim of crime do not realise that the process for claiming compensation is completely free. The Victorian Government pays for all expenses relating to victims of crime compensation. If you work with a lawyer, their costs are covered through this program.

Compensation can Assist with Expenses

When you are the victim of a crime, it is not always immediately obvious that you require help or what kind of assistance you might need. But there are many areas where you may need additional funding so that you can recover from the experience of being a victim of crime and return to living your normal life, if possible. Claiming compensation can assist you to cover the costs associated with your circumstances.

Medical Expenses

Often people who are the victim of crime will need some medical assistance. This can range from treatment for serious injuries that are the result of a violent attack or assault, to more superficial problems. Sometimes, physical trauma can take a while to clearly manifest – you may think you are fine and then discover a problem later. If you don’t have private health insurance, you may find yourself out of pocket trying to pay for ongoing rehabilitation and medical procedures.

Psychological Help

One of the most common services that victims of crime require access to in the aftermath of an attack or act of violence is counselling and therapy. Working with a psychologist can make a big difference to the way that you mentally process the experience and deal with any trauma associated with being a victim of crime. Psychological help can be expensive, especially when it continues long term.

Loss of Income

It is common for victims of crime to take time off from work following their experience. This may be due to injury, the need to seek further psychological assistance, or simply because returning straight to normal life can be very difficult in these circumstances. Whatever the case, many people face a loss of income as a result of being a victim of crime. If you need to miss any work, compensation payments can help to cover for this lost income.

Funeral Costs

If you are the family of a person who is killed in a violent crime, compensation is available to assist with paying for the funeral of your lost loved one. This small assistance can make a difference when dealing with the grief of losing a family member to crime.

How to Claim for Compensation

Before you can lodge a claim for compensation, you need to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements to be considered a victim of crime.

By law, you are considered a victim of crime if you have suffered physical injury, emotional injury or financial loss because of a crime. You can also be considered a victim of crime if you are a family member of a person who has suffered from these things, due to the emotional distress of supporting a person in this situation.

Some of the common circumstances when a person is considered a victim of crime include:

  • A person who is physically assaulted or violently injured
  • A person who is sexually assaulted
  • A person who is the victim of a robbery
  • A person who is the victim of domestic violence
  • A witness to a violent crime
  • A person who lost a loved one in a violent crime or road accident.

If you are a victim of crime, you can apply for financial assistance from the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT). This government body is responsible for helping victims of crime to access funds that will assist them in recovering from the experience.

For an application for financial assistance through VOCAT for medical expenses, you will need to provide evidence to show that you have been injured, such as a certificate from a doctor. For loss of income compensation, you will need to prove that you were unable to work. If you seek psychological help as a result of the crime, you will need a report from a psychologist. A lawyer can work with you to gather this documentation and file your application.

In addition to apply for compensation through VOCAT, you can also seek compensation from the offender in your crime if this person is known. To do this, the accused person must be found guilty in court.

You can apply for a court order to make the offender compensate you for pain and suffering, make restitution for any stolen possessions, and pay for any lost or damaged property. This can be done via the criminal court case (within 12 months of the crime taking place) or via a civil court action.