Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996
Tabled in Parliament Date:
Victims of crime, especially violent crime, often find themselves physically, mentally and financially vulnerable. Recovery can be a long, difficult process. The purpose of the Victims of Crimes Assistance Act (1996) was to give financial assistance to victims to rebuild their lives and recover. Following specific matters raised during the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Attorney-General, in December 2016, asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to review the provision of state-funded financial assistance to victims of family violence under the ACT.
Later, in July 2017, the terms of reference were broadened to include reviewing the general effectiveness of the Act and the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) for all victims of crime.
In June 2017, after research into areas covered by the initial terms of reference, the Commission produced a consultation paper that posed 66 questions for consideration and asked for submissions. In August 2017, responding to the broadened terms of reference, a supplementary consultation paper was released, posing a further 55 questions for consideration and extending the request for submissions.
In its review, the Commission consulted widely with individuals and organisations with experience with the VOCAT process, including victim/survivor individuals, groups and advocacy organisations, representatives of the courts and judiciary, private and specialist legal practitioners, community centres and groups, academics, and state-funded financial agencies. From some of these and others, we received 66 submissions.
Tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 19 September 2018, our report contained 100 detailed recommendations and proposed significant changes to the way government provides financial assistance to victims of crime.
The Commission recommended that a new state-funded financial assistance scheme be established, led by an independent and dedicated decision-maker whose powers and functions are prescribed in legislation.
Further, the Commission recommended that the functions of Victoria’s Victims of Crime Commissioner be expanded to include the functions and powers necessary to administer the new scheme.
All published material and submissions are available below.
- Terms of reference received
- Submissions and consultations
- Submissions closed
- Final Report
- Tabled in parliament