What to Do If You Have Been Hurt in a Criminal Act
Becoming the victim of a criminal offence can have a profound impact on your life but you don’t need to let it define you.
If you are a victim of crime in Victoria, you may be able to:
- apply for financial assistance through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal
- get compensation from the person who committed the crime or through civil court action.
A lawyer can help you seek compensation for your injuries, even if the offender hasn’t been charged, and guide you through the criminal injuries compensation process.
What is Criminal Compensation?
If you’ve been the victim of a crime you may be entitled to financial assistance or compensation following your injuries – this is called criminal injuries compensation.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Criminal Compensation?
A good lawyer, experienced in criminal law, can help you throughout the whole compensation process.
They will prepare applications, collect documents, suggest appropriate pathways and answer all of your questions. This ensures that the entire process is taken care of for you.
Who Can Apply for Criminal Compensation?
To apply for financial assistance, you must be a victim of a violent crime that caused injury or loss. Injury means actual physical bodily harm or mental impairment or emotional disorder. You must be able to show the link between the crime and the injury.
The crime must have:
- been reported to police within a reasonable time – the police do not need to arrest anyone, or lay any charges, but the tribunal must be satisfied that a crime has taken place
- occurred within the last two years (except in the case of certain childhood sexual crimes), although it may be possible to gain an extension of time from the tribunal.
You can apply to the tribunal even if the crime was committed by your partner or family member.
How Do I Apply for Compensation?
To apply you need to fill in an Application for Assistance form and send it to the tribunal. This is free.
You may also be able to take the offender to civil court to get compensation for the injury you have suffered. This will depend on whether the offender has any assets. The offender does not have to have been convicted or found guilty in a criminal court for this to happen. You can include the loss, destruction or damage of your property in your claim.
What Assistance is Available to Me?
The tribunal may help you with a range of expenses including counselling, medical, safety-related, and funeral expenses. You may also get assistance for lost earnings and other reasonable expenses to assist your recovery.
The amount of assistance you can get depends on whether you are:
- the person injured in the crime
- someone who witnessed a crime or is a parent of a child victim
- a relative or dependant of someone who has died as a result of the act of violence.
If you’ve been hurt in a criminal act, and are seeking professional legal advice, contact the team at Robert Wood and Associates. Call (03) 9762 3877 or simply contact us online to book an appointment.
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