Applying for financial assistance from Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal

Victims of violent crime in Victoria may be able to apply for financial assistance from VOCAT to help them with costs.

If you plan to seek financial assistance, keep medical reports and evidence of your expenses.

You may be able to claim some expenses in other ways.

You can get free advice about applying to VOCAT from the Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817.

You can get legal advice and help seeking financial assistance from the Victims Legal Service.

The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) is the Victorian government-funded scheme. It can make payments to eligible victims of violent crimes where:

  • the crime happened in Victoria
  • was reported to the police within a reasonable time
  • the crime directly led to injury to the victim.

It can 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.

It cannot provide compensation for lost or damaged property.

Amount of assistance available

Although maximum payouts are listed below, the average amount of financial assistance paid by VOCAT to a victim is around $7,700.  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.

Who can apply?

People who have been victims of violent crime may be eligible under one of three categories - primary, secondary and related victims.

How to apply

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 crimes that occurred when the victim was under 18).

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

  1. Collect your evidence

You will need evidence about how the crime has affected you, such as:

  • evidence from your doctor or hospital to prove that you have been injured
  • reports from your psychologist about any psychological injury you have suffered
  • proof of loss of earnings
  • any other expenses that resulted from the crime.
  1. Apply to VOCAT

You can apply in two ways:

You can go to a solicitor and get them to help you with your application. VOCAT will often cover this cost.

After you have applied

You will get an email or letter from VOCAT to let you know that they have received your application.

VOCAT will make a decision about your application. They will need to collect evidence about the crime, including from the police. This can take some time.

Urgent expenses

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.

Get help with your application

The Victims of Crime Helpline (1800 819 817) is a free service that can help you apply for financial assistance.

Other things you can 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.