NEWS

Changes to Victims Services Scheme

The Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW) and Victims Rights and Support Regulation 2013 (NSW) have retrospectively replaced the previous scheme set out in the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 (NSW) and Victims Support and Rehabilitation Regulation 1996 (NSW).

While the new scheme continues to support victims of crime by offering recognition payments, counselling services and financial support, it has significantly altered the formula for calculation of recognition and financial support payments. The new scheme has:

  1. extended payment under the scheme to a wider group of secondary victims;
  2. removed the schedule of compensable injuries;
  3. introduced a standard set of categories for compensation payments;
  4. set the maximum sums payable for financial assistance; and
  5. introduced a set of categories for financial assistance payments and the maximum sums payable for such categories.

The practical effect of these changes will vary for each individual victim and depend on the classification of the victim, the category of the financial assistance sought and the crimes giving rise to the act of violence claim; however, in general:

  1. the new categorisation of compensation payments reduce the maximum compensation payment that can be received by an individual for an act (or series of acts) of violence to $15,000.00;
  2. payment for compensation is now restricted to acts of violence arising from certain crimes, including homicide, assault and robbery;
  3. while the financial assistance offered to a primary victim has been increased to a maximum payment of up to $30,000.00, payments for certain classifications of financial support are allocated a maximum cap and monies paid to certain secondary victims are discounted from the payment to the primary victim; and
  4. the financial assistance offered to secondary victims are restricted to three categories, all allocated a maximum cap (namely, immediate assistance: $5,000, funeral expenses $8,000.00 and coronial enquiries $5,000.00).

These changes not only affect claims seeking payment under the new scheme, but also affect the undetermined claims under the old scheme and appeals of decisions made under the old scheme. Of particular note, the undetermined claims made under the old scheme are decided with reference to the new scheme and may result in a reduced payment for compensation or financial assistance to victims.

Both Victims Services as well as the ADT have further information regarding the application of the new scheme.

 

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