In Queensland people that are the victim of an act of violence are eligible for assistance in circumstances where that person satisfies the prescribed scheme set out in the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009. This scheme was established by the Queensland Government in order to assist people in recovering from the effects of a violent crime committed against that person.
What type of assistance is available?
Under the Act, the Queensland Government has offered support in two main respects; firstly, by facilitating the availability of information, and secondly, by providing financial assistance.
Availability of information
When a person has suffered harm because a crime is committed against that person, a family member or dependant, or as a direct result of helping another person who has died or suffered harm because of a crime, that person is eligible to receive a range of information services available.
This includes information relating to support services that may assist the victim, information about the investigation of the offender, and
information about the prosecution of the offender.
Although information will not be furnished in circumstances where the release of that information may jeopardise an investigation against the offender, the purpose of the scheme is to ensure that vulnerable people have access to recovery services, as well as reassuring the victim that appropriate action is taken against the offender when applicable.
The victim of an act of violence may also be eligible for financial assistance in circumstances where the person has suffered a physical or psychological injury and the act of violence has been reported.
If a person is considered eligible to receive financial assistance, the next step is to determine the relationship between the victim and the act of violence. This will establish the type of victim and the maximum amount of financial assistance that the person is entitled to receive. They include:
- person that dies or is injured as a direct result of an act of violence being committed against that person.
- eligible to receive assistance up to $75,000.
- person that witnesses an act or violence against another person, or the parent of the victim of an act of violence.
- eligible to receive assistance up to $50,000.
- person that is a close family member or dependant of a primary victim that has died.
- eligible to receive assistance up to $50,000 for an individual, or $100,000 for a family.
Furthermore, a person that incurs expenses for the funeral of a primary victim is also eligible for assistance of up to $6,000.
How much can you receive?
Once a person is considered to be eligible to receive financial assistance, the amount of assistance provided may depend on a number of additional considerations. These may include the extent to which the person’s conduct contributed to the injury suffered, or if the person is
considered a related victim, the financial resources of the person, the extent of the relationship with the primary victim, and the amount the person would have received but for the primary victim’s death.
In addition, the financial assistance provided will consist of one or more of the following expenses incurred, or reasonably likely to be incurred, by the victim:
- medical expenses;
- counselling expenses;
- incidental travel expenses;
- expenses incurred for making the application for assistance;
- loss of earnings of up to $20,000 for period of up to 2 years;
- expenses incurred for loss or damage to clothing the victim was wearing when the act of violence occurred; and
- any exceptional circumstances that may significantly help the victim recover, and exists because of the victim’s circumstances, the nature of the act, or where the act caused an unusual or special effect on the victim.
Think you are eligible?
If you think you might be eligible for assistance under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act, then it may be worth making an application.
Please contact our office should you require any further information.