Having a violent crime happen to you or a loved one can be very upsetting and disruptive – and sometimes the effects may be felt for a long time after the crime occurs.
Particularly if someone is badly hurt, it can be difficult to know what to do next – but you do not have to deal with it alone.
The Victims of Crime Helpline can connect you with services or you can use this website to learn more about the justice system in Victoria and what to do next.
If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime is currently occurring, please call police on Triple Zero (000). You can also go to your local police station to report a crime.
The Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817 can provide information, advice and support.
What is physical assault?
A physical assault occurs when a person uses physical violence and causes injury to another person’s body.
If the violence causes a person’s death, the crime may be called a homicide.
A physical assault can happen as part of:
If someone threatens you with harm or behaves in a way that makes you think they will harm you, this can also be a crime.
Charges related to physical assault
Depending on the circumstances, an accused person may be charged with different offences such as:
- common, aggravated or more serious assault
- causing injury or serious injury
- robbery (theft of property where violence has been used)
If the violence causes a person’s death, this is called a homicide and the charges will be more serious.
If physical violence is threatened, the charges can include:
Free support across Victoria
The Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817 is available every day from 8am to 11pm to provide advice and support to anyone who has experienced a physical assault 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 also 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
- provide options for managing your home and personal security, if they have been affected by the crime.
Understanding the traumatic effects of crime
Aside from the physical injuries that may result because of violence, experiencing a crime (or having a loved one affected by a crime) can be frightening and traumatic.
Witnesses who see someone hurt 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:
- common emotional and physical reactions to stressful events like crimes
- suggestions to help you with recovery
- how to best support a family member or friend
- how to help a child who has been affected by crime.
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:
- the justice process and what to expect
- getting information about the court case
- giving evidence as a witness and support that is available for you if you need to go to court
- preparing a Victim Impact Statement to tell the court how the crime affected you
- getting information about the offender if they are sentenced to prison from the Victims Register.
You can also learn more about physical assault and justice process below.
Report a physical assault
If anyone is immediate danger or a crime is occurring, please call police on Triple Zero (000). You can also go to your local police station to report a crime.
You can contact your local police station to report non-urgent situations such as:
- a physical assault that happened in the past
- threats of harm where there is no immediate danger.
You can learn more about reporting a crime to police.
There are good reasons to report crimes to the police, even if the accused person is a family member or loved one. But sometimes people do not wish to report. If that is the case for you, or you are not sure, you can still talk to the Victims of Crime Helpline and get advice and support.
What will happen if a physical assault is reported?
When a crime such as physical assault is reported to police, they will:
- deal with any immediate danger of someone being hurt or further injured
- call medical or other services to treat any injuries victims may have
- secure the location (if that is appropriate) to make sure it is safe and to collect evidence
- investigate what happened.
Evidence that may be needed
As a victim or witness, you may be asked to give a detailed statement about what happened.
The police may also ask for your cooperation to collect evidence. This can include:
- medical records and photographs of injuries you sustained
- photographs and other evidence from the location the crime happened
- clothing or other items you had with you that may help to show what happened.
If someone is charged
If an accused person is found by the police, they may be charged with a crime.
This website explains the justice process in Victoria. You can learn about:
Dealing with the media
Some crimes can be of interest to the media. The police will not release the name of a victim without their consent or the consent of the next of kin, but the media may still be able to identify victims and contact them.
If you have questions or concerns, you can call:
- the police officer in charge of your investigation
- the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 818 817.
You can learn more about victims of crime and the media.
Counselling and crisis support services
24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Open: 24 hours, every day
Call: 13 11 14
Mental health care plan – see your General Practitioner
If you need assistance, you can see a General Practitioner and discuss your situation. You may be eligible for a mental health care plan that will assist with the cost of counselling.
Victorian Legal Aid
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
Victoria’s health and safety regulator and manager of Victoria’s workers compensation scheme (WorkCover). If the physical assault happened while you were performing work duties, you may be entitled to make a claim.
Open: 7.30am–6.30pm, Monday to Friday
Call: 1800 136 089