If the accused person is found guilty of the crime committed against you, you may be able to claim compensation from them.
You can apply for a court order to make the offender:
- compensate you for the injuries, pain and suffering that the crime has caused
- return your stolen possessions
- pay you for what any lost, damaged or sold property is worth.
There are three ways that you can make a compensation claim against the offender.
Compensation through the criminal court case
On the day the offender is sentenced for the crime committed against you, claims can be made in court by:
- the police informant or police prosecutor (for most cases in the Magistrates’ Court)
- the Office of Public Prosecutions solicitor (for more serious cases in the Magistrates’ Court, County Court or Supreme Court).
Preparing your compensation claim
The first step is to contact the police officer looking after the case before it goes to court. Let them know that you want to make a compensation claim against the offender. This will give you some time to organise your claim.
If you are claiming compensation for pain, suffering and injuries, you must keep all your medical receipts. You might also need doctors’ reports for evidence.
If you make a claim for property damage, you must have quotes for how much it will cost to repair or replace.
If the accused person is found guilty of a theft-related offence, the court may order them to return the goods or money stolen from you. If the goods have been sold, destroyed or lost, the court can order the offender to pay you the value of the goods.
Compensation through civil court action
Civil court action is another option to try to get compensation from the offender. This is a separate court process to the criminal court case.
You should get legal advice before going ahead with civil court action, because you may have to pay legal costs.
Contact a lawyer directly or find a local community legal centre through the Federation of Community Legal Centres (external link).
Compensation through the Prisoner Compensation Quarantine Fund
The Prisoner Compensation Quarantine Fund (the fund) can give you another chance to get compensation for the pain and suffering they caused you.
If an offender is injured while they are in prison they can sue the prison, and may be paid compensation if they are successful.
If the prisoner is paid $10,000 or more, the money will be held in the fund for at least 12 months. The prisoner cannot access the money during this time.
You may want to make a compensation claim against the prisoner, knowing that this money may be available if your claim is successful.
Large compensation payments to prisoners are rare. On average, only two compensation payments of $10,000 or more are made to prisoners each year in Victoria.
Finding out if a payment has been made to a prisoner
The best way to find out if a payment has been made to a prisoner is by registering with the Victims Register.
There are laws in Victoria about who can get information from the Victims Register. If you are registered, you will be sent a letter if compensation paid to a prisoner is being held in the fund.
Read more about the Victims Register and how to apply.
Public notices are also published:
- in the News and events section of this website
- in Thursday editions of the Herald-Sun and The Australian newspapers
- in the Victoria Government Gazette.
Claiming compensation from the prisoner
Compensation is not automatically paid to victims of crime. You have to make a compensation claim against the prisoner in court.
Get legal advice
It’s a good idea to get legal advice to help you make your decision because your compensation claim must be made in court.
Even if there is money being held in the fund, there is no guarantee that you’ll get any compensation from the prisoner, as there may be other claims for the money.
Contact the Victims Register
Before you make a compensation claim against the prisoner, contact the Victims Register.
The Victims Register may be able to tell you:
- the amount of money being held in the fund
- if anyone else has made a claim against the prisoner
- the date when the 12 month holding period started.
Making a compensation claim
If you do decide to make a compensation claim, you have 12 months from the date in the public notice to start your claim against the prisoner.
Get your lawyer to tell the Victims Register in writing that you are making a compensation claim in court. The Victims Register may be able to organise for the money to be held in the fund until the court makes a decision about your claim.
For more information about the Prisoner Compensation Quarantine Fund:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- call the Vicims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 and ask to speak to the Victims Register.
Other financial assistance
Keep in mind that there are other ways to get financial assistance if you've been affected by crime.
Read more about other types of financial assistance for victims of crime.