The Victorian Law Reform Commission is reviewing the ways that victims of crime obtain financial assistance through the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 and the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).
Victims of violent crime are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the state, to help them rebuild their lives and recover. However, awareness of the scheme is low, and victims can find the process complex.
The Attorney-General, the Hon. Martin Pakula MP, has asked the Commission to review the Act and the Tribunal. The Commission is considering how well VOCAT is working to help victims of crime, and whether the current scheme should be replaced with an alternative model.
A consultation paper, Review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act, is available on the Victorian Law Reform Commission website. Submissions are invited by 31 October 2017 from people with experience of the Tribunal.
In particular, the Commission is looking at:
- Who is eligible for assistance
- The definition of ‘violent crime’
- How much assistance victims can be paid
- How long the process takes, and reasons for delays
- Whether a different system would work better for victims.
Chair of the Commission, the Hon. Philip Cummins AM said: “Financial assistance helps victims rebuild their lives after suffering a violent crime, for example by paying for medical bills or accommodation. The Commission welcomes the views of people with experience of the VOCAT system, whether as victims, lawyers, other professionals or concerned community members.”
The Commission will report in July 2018.