Have you been a victim of crime and suffered personal injury or loss as a consequence? This injury maybe physical or psychological.
If so you may have two options:
- As from the first December 2009, if you have been a victim of a criminal offence, you may be able to make a claim for financial assistance under the Victim Assist Queensland (VAQ) scheme. Victims of crime can apply for assistance immediately and directly to VAQ and do not have to go through the court system.
- You may also have the right to compensation by filing a civil claim through the courts.
This section below will deal primarily with the VAQ claims.
The process is relatively simple involving:
- an application; and
- a medical certificate to prove that you suffered an injury or illness as a result of a crime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have a claim for compensation?
- you have suffered an injury or illness as the result of a crime; and
- you fall within one of the following categories of victim:
- Primary victim: if you are injured or pass away as a result of a violent crime against you.
- Secondary victim: if you are injured as a direct result of witnessing any act of violence that resulted in injury or death of the primary victim. eg. You may be a parent or guardian of a primary victim under 18 who is injured as a direct result of an act of violence having been committed.
- Related victim: if you are a dependant of the victim who has passed away or a close member of the family.
Who can I bring the claim against?
- under the Victim of Crime scheme, the Government will pay the financial assistance.
- If you file a civil compensation claim, the offender can be ordered by the Court to pay compensation, and can refer the order to VAQ to collect the payment for the victim.
What can I claim compensation for under the VAQ scheme?
- Legal expenses – Victim Assist will pay the first $500 of any associated legal fees.
- Counselling – Victim Assist will pay for any counselling required as a result of an act of violence.
- Medical expenses.
- Specialist Medical Report expenses.
- Incidental travel e.g. travel to and from medical appointments, during their recovery.
- Loss of or decreased earnings – up to $20 000.
- Damage to clothing (excluding accessories).
- Special assistance lump sum – ranging from $130 to $10 000.
- Interim assistance up to $6,000 for urgent or emergency expenses.
- Funeral expenses – Funeral expense assistance must be claimed within three years from the victim’s death.
- Other expenses.
What has to be proven for my claim to be successful?
For financial assistance claims through VAQ, the person who injured you does not have to be charged for you to get financial assistance. However, you do have to prove that on the balance of probabilities, there was an act of violence that resulted in the injury or death of a person.
To receive financial assistance from the VAQ you must:
- have reported the act of violence to the police or have a good enough reason why you did not complete a financial assistance application form and send it to VAQ; and
- be able to prove that you paid for the items you are seeking to be reimbursed for.
Are there any important time limits to bring a claim?
An application must be made:
- Within 3 years from the date of the act of violence.
- For related victims, 3 years after the death of the primary victim.
- For child victims, 3 years after the day the child turns 18.
Victims of crime can apply for assistance immediately and directly to VAQ and do not have to go through the court system.
Can I appeal if my application is refused?
Yes, you can apply to have the decision of the reviewed within 28 days of finding out the result of your application.
If your review is not favourable, you can then appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Who pays me the compensation?
Your application for assistance will be assessed by a government assessor in VAQ and if approved the Government will pay you.
How much financial assistance or compensation can I claim?
This depends upon which victim category you fall within and your individual circumstances.
If you are the one who has suffered an injury due to an act of violence you can get a maximum sum of $75,000 as a primary victim.
Secondary and Related victims can get a maximum of $50,000.
This depends upon your individual circumstances and loss or injury suffered but may well exceed the financial assistance from the VAQ.
How long does a claim for financial assistance or compensation take?
Financial Assistance Claims through VAQ
Not long, as there is no requirement that the offender has to be charged first, nor do they have to be convicted.
The time it takes to process your application depends on your individual circumstances and how long it takes to get the information we need to apply to VAQ to enable that body to make a decision.
If you seek interim assistance, we make an initial assessment as quickly as possible.
You can help us process your application quickly by giving us all the information we ask for on the application form.
Compensation claims through the Courts
If you seek to file a civil claim for compensation through the courts, you will need to make this application for compensation in a court after the criminal proceedings.
Can I make a claim as a beneficiary or dependant if the injured person has passed away?
Yes. If you fall within one of the categories of victims listed above.