How VOCAT Can Help You
If you have been the victim of a violent crime in the state of Victoria, you may be eligible for financial assistance to cover medical and counselling expenses as well as loss of income from the VOCAT. The solicitors at Robert Wood and Associates can help if you have your financial situation has been affected or if you have been injured by a violent crime. Let’s have a deeper look into VOCAT, and how they can help you.
What is VOCAT?
VOCAT stands for the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. VOCAT provides financial assistance to victims of crime who have experienced pain and suffering or financial losses as the result of a single or series of violent crimes.
Can VOCAT Help Me?
You may be eligible for financial assistance if you were the victim of, or witness to, an act of violence which:
- occurred in Victoria and
- is punishable by a prison sentence and
- resulted in injury to you. Injury can mean actual physical/bodily harm, mental illness or disorder, pregnancy, or a combination of these.
You can make a claim if you are:
- A primary victim – you were injured as a direct result of a violent crime
- A secondary victim – you were present at the scene of a crime and suffered an injury as a result of witnessing it, or if you are the parent or guardian of a child who is the victim of a crime and you suffered an injury upon becoming aware of the crime
- A related victim – you are a close family member of a person who died as the direct result of a crime
If you do not fit the above criteria, however you have incurred funeral expenses as the result of a death that was the direct result of a violent crime, you are eligible to make a claim for funeral expenses only.
What Assistance Does VOCAT Provide?
VOCAT can provide a range of assistance depending on your needs and whether you are a primary/secondary/related victim. Primary victims may receive up to $60,000 to cover medical expenses, counselling, and loss of earnings. A secondary victim may receive up to $50,000 to cover medical and counselling expenses, and some loss of earnings, arising as a direct result of witnessing the act of violence. Related victims are entitled to a maximum of $50,000 for counselling and funeral expenses.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?
Claims should be lodged within two years of the violent crime. You can still make a claim after the two-year limit, but you will need to explain why the claim is being lodged late. If you were under the age of 18 when the crime happened the two-year time limit does not apply.
How Do I Make a Claim?
You can make an application yourself online or get a VOCAT lawyer to help with the process. If you are seeking medical expenses, you will need to provide evidence from your doctor to show that you have been injured. If you have a psychological problem as a result of the crime, you will need a report from a psychologist. You will also need to prove loss of income and proof of any expenses that have resulted from the crime. If you are a victim of a violent crime and wish to make a claim for assistance, it is a good idea to seek legal advice before you do so.
What Happens Next?
VOCAT will collect evidence such as police records and make a decision as to whether you are eligible for assistance and how much you are entitled to. Keep in mind that this process can take up to two years.
If you are a primary, secondary or related victim of crime, get in touch with the team at Robert Wood and Associates today. If you are eligible, our lawyers will help you lodge your application, assist you with the documents required and will liaise with other involved parties on your behalf. Make an appointment with an experienced Melbourne VOCAT lawyer today by calling (03) 9762 3877, alternatively you can contact us online.
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