Family Violence and the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996: Consultation Paper


Family violence victims are victims of crime.

As recognised by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic) (the Act) has a role in helping family violence victims rebuild their lives and recover. However, as also recognised by the Royal Commission, victims of family violence face significant barriers in accessing the Act.

On 22 December 2016, the Victorian Attorney-General, the Honourable Martin Pakula MP, asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission (the Commission) to review and report on the provision of state-funded financial assistance to victims of family violence under the Act.

The reference to the Commission is a small but important part of the Victorian Government response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

The reference seeks answers to the question: what changes should be made to the Act to better assist victims of family violence rebuild their lives and recover? The answer must be tempered by the need to ensure the Act provides an appropriate balance between the rights of victims and procedural fairness, including where the alleged perpetrator has not been prosecuted or convicted.

The issues raised by this reference will attract a range of views, and the Commission will be consulting widely with victims, persons affected, professionals, stakeholders and the community. This consultation paper is therefore an important step in the Commission’s consultation process.

I warmly encourage anyone with an interest in the issues discussed in this paper to make a written submission to the Commission by 28 July 2017.

The Hon. P. D. Cummins AM


Victorian Law Reform Commission

June 2017