Victim Services are continuing
It is important that victims of crime in Victoria know that victim support services are continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key services for victims, such as the Victims of Crime Helpline, the Victims Assistance Program and the Victims Register, continue to operate.
Victims of Crime Helpline
The Victims of Crime Helpline continues to provide services and support for victims of crime between 8am and 11pm every day.
Referrals to the Helpline from Victoria Police, community agencies and members of the public are also continuing. The Helpline provides victims with information, support and referrals to further support services, including the localised Victims Assistance Program.
The Helpline team has successfully moved to working from home arrangements with no disruption to service delivery.
Contact the Helpline
Victims Assistance Program
Victims Assistance Programs (VAPs) across Victoria are continuing to provide case management support to victims of crime. Due to current physical distancing restrictions, this support is being offered via phone or video conferencing with face-to-face outreach appointments occurring only by exception.
VAP agencies are aware of the increased difficulties and complexity for victims of crime during the COVID-19 pandemic and are providing victims with additional support.
Contact the Victims Assistance Program
Youth Justice Group Conferencing
Victim Support for Youth Justice Group Conferencing (YJGC) is continuing with all conferences now being conducted via video link. Victim Liaison Officers are providing pre and post conference support for victims via phone and video conferencing.
Victim Liaison Officers are working from home with no disruption to victim support services.
Contact YJGC Victim Support
The Victims Register continues to receive new applications from victims of crime and provide victim notifications of expected dates for prisoner release. The Victims Register is the key contact for notifying victims of any prisoner deaths, or the unlikely event of a prisoner escape or absconsion. This work is continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Victims Register team has successfully moved to working from home arrangements with no disruption to service delivery.
Contact the Victims Register
Support for vulnerable witnesses
The Child Witness Service (CWS) and the Intermediaries Pilot Program (IPP) are continuing to operate during the COVID-19 restrictions.
Some court matters are being delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and some remote witness rooms are unable to be used due to physical distancing requirements.
While changes to court operations are having an impact on their work, CWS and IPP continue to support vulnerable and child witnesses as matters are scheduled through the courts.
The IPP continues to attend Victoria Police pilot sites to assist police to communicate with vulnerable witnesses.
Contact the Child Witness Service
Call: 1300 790 540
Family Violence Restorative Justice Service
The Family Violence Restorative Justice (FVRJ) Service has moved to working from home and is still open to receive referrals and respond to enquiries via phone and email.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, practitioners are not conducting any face-to-face meetings, so some aspects of restorative work are on hold while we explore ways they can be done safely.
Where practitioners can work with victim survivors and service providers, this is being conducted via phone and through audio and video conferencing platforms.
Contact the Family Violence Restorative Justice Service
Further changes to service delivery
The easing of COVID-19 restrictions over the coming weeks and months will likely result in further changes to how Victim Support services can be delivered. This may involve services moving from virtual to face-to-face support where appropriate restrictions can be observed.