Culpable driving

If a loved one dies because of a traffic-related crime, you can get assistance and support.

Losing a loved one to crime may be one of the most painful and shocking experiences you can go through. It also means that you may need to deal with the justice process for many years following the crime.

The Victims of Crime Helpline can provide advice and support during this difficult time and connect you with services as you need them.

What is culpable driving?

In Victoria, the crime of culpable driving causing death may occur when a person driving a vehicle causes another person’s death because:

  • they were driving recklessly or negligently
  • were under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that they could not control the vehicle.

Free support across Victoria

The Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817 is available every day 8am to 11pm to provide information, advice and support to anyone who has lost a loved one or family member to culpable driving in Victoria.

The helpline can also help people who are experiencing difficulty and need support after being a witness to a violent crime.

When you contact the helpline, a Victims Support Officer can discuss your situation with you and advise on assistance and support services you can access.

The helpline may be able to organise a support worker from the Victims Assistance Program who can:

  • organise counselling, transport and medical services
  • help you communicate with police
  • assist with managing disruptions to work and study by letting people know what has happened
  • assist with applying for financial assistance.

Understanding the traumatic effects of crime

Losing a loved one to a crime is a frightening and traumatic experience. Witnesses who see someone hurt or killed can also be deeply affected, even if they do not know the victim.

Everyone's response is different, but it can be helpful to understand the common feelings and physical reactions people have and what to expect.

On this website, you can learn more about:

Whether it is just after the crime or you are dealing with ongoing effects on your health and wellbeing, counselling is available. The Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817 can connect you to services that can help.

Help to understand the justice process

The Victims of Crime Helpline can answer your questions about:

You can learn more about culpable driving and justice process below.

Services for counselling and bereavement support


24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Open: 24 hours, every day
Call: 13 11 14

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Provides a specialist bereavement service for individuals, children and families who need assistance following the death of someone close to them, including face-to-face counselling and support groups.

Open: 9am–5pm Monday to Friday
Call: 1800 642 066
Website: to find out more about bereavement support

Road Trauma Support Services

Not for profit organisation that provides free counselling and support to people impacted by road trauma.

Open: 9am–5pm Monday to Friday
Call: 1300 367 797


Anonymous telephone counselling service providing support to people who are experiencing loss and grief.

Open: 6am-midnight, every day
Call: 1300 845 745

The Compassionate Friends Victoria

Supporting parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents after the death of a child at any age.

Open: 24 hours, every day
Call: (03) 9888 4944 or 1300 064 068

Other services

Transport Accident Commission (TAC)

Information about the assistance the TAC can provide if someone has been injured or killed in a road accident.

Open: 8.30–5.30pm, Monday to Friday
Call: 1300 654 329 (local call) or 1800 332 556 (toll-free outside Melbourne)

Coroners Court of Victoria

For information about a coroner’s investigation you can contact the Coroners Court.

Call: 1300 309 519

Victoria Legal Aid’s (VLA) Legal Help service provides free general legal information over the phone and by chat online.

Open: 8am–6pm, every day
Call: 1800 677 402

WorkSafe Victoria

Victoria’s health and safety regulator and manager of Victoria’s workers compensation scheme (WorkCover). If the death happened while the person was performing work duties, you may be entitled to make a claim.

Open: 7.30am–6.30pm, Monday to Friday
Call: 1800 136 089