If your financial situation has changed because of a crime, you may be entitled to financial assistance to help with the expenses you have.
The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal
The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) can give financial assistance to victims of crime in Victoria.
You may be able to get a payment from VOCAT as recognition for your pain and suffering, and to help with things like:
- counselling and medical expenses
- safety related expenses
- loss or damage to clothing worn at the time of the incident
- loss of earnings
- funeral costs.
The average amount of financial assistance paid by VOCAT is around $7000, but keep in mind that every person’s situation is different.
The maximum amount of financial assistance depends on the details of the crime and if you are a primary, secondary or related victim.
This is a person who is injured or dies as a direct result of:
- an act of violence committed against them
- trying to stop an act of violence
- helping the victim of an act of violence
- trying to arrest someone who has committed an act of violence.
Primary victims can receive up to $60,000 for:
- medical and counselling expenses
- safety-related expenses
- loss of income (up to $20,000)
- replacement of lost or damaged clothing.
This is a person who is injured as a direct result of:
- being at the scene and witnessing an act of violence
- becoming aware of an act of violence (This applies to a parent/guardian of a primary victim who was less than 18 years old at the time of the act).
Secondary victims are entitled to up to:
- $50,000 for medical and counselling expenses
- loss of earnings of up to $20,000 (in exceptional circumstances).
This is a person who at the time of an act of violence either:
- was a close family member of
- was a dependant of
- had an intimate personal relationship with
a primary victim who has died as a result of the act.
Related victims are entitled to amounts of up to $50,000 for:
- medical or funeral expenses
- counselling expenses
- assistance for distress experienced
- loss of money expected to be received from the deceased (up to two years after the death).
Property damage is not covered
VOCAT is not able to give compensation for lost or damaged property.
To apply for financial assistance from VOCAT:
- you must be a victim of a violent crime that occurred in Victoria
- the crime must have been reported to police within a reasonable time
- the crime must have happened within the last two years (except in the case of some childhood sexual crimes).
You can still apply to VOCAT if:
- the offender has not been identified or charged by the police.
- the accused person was not found guilty at court.
Make your application
- Apply online by visiting the VOCAT website (external link).
If you would like to hand write your application, you can print out the Application for Assistance form (external link) and hand it in at your local Magistrates’ Court.
- You will get an email or letter from VOCAT to let you know that they have received your application.
- You will need to have evidence from your doctor or hospital to prove that you have been injured. You will also need proof of loss of earnings and of any expenses as a result of the crime. If you have a psychological injury, you will need a report from a psychologist.
- VOCAT will collect evidence, including evidence from the police, to make a decision about your application. This can take some time.
If you need urgent financial assistance, you can apply for an ‘interim award’. Add a letter to your VOCAT application
form that says:
- you want to apply for an interim award
- the amount of assistance you need
- the reason why you need the payment urgently.
You should also provide copies of receipts or bills.
For more information about urgent financial assistance, call VOCAT on 1800 882 752.
In the meantime, call the companies you have bills with to tell them you are having financial hardship. Their phone number is usually at the top of the bill. They might give you extra time to pay or organise a payment plan for you.
The Victims of Crime Helpline is a free service that can help you apply for financial assistance.
You can also get help with:
- your day to day needs
- emergency home security
- managing your personal safety
- communicating with police and making a report
- organising counselling, transport and medical services
- getting ready for court
- getting information about the offender.
Call 1800 819 817 or read more about the Victims of Crime Helpline.
You might be able to get compensation through:
- insurance policies.
Financial assistance from VOCAT may be reduced if you can get other types financial assistance.
Compensation from the offender
If the accused person is found guilty in court for the crime committed against you, you may be able to claim compensation from them.
Read more about getting compensation from the offender.