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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4282 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

This amendment is related to an earlier amendment. It ensures that the court divides the total amount of compensation available between related victims whilst retaining the maximum cap of $30,000 on special assistance. If more than one related victim applies, the total amount available will be divided.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (3.24 am): I prefer the position the Government has outlined in the legislation. What the amendments the Government has put forward do is more beneficial to victims than the present scheme, mainly for the reason that, while the current scheme requires a relative to prove that he or she has personally sustained an injury as a result of death, the Government's Bill provides for an automatic entitlement to $30,000, plus expenses and lost earnings, up to a maximum of $50,000 in the same circumstances. I urge support for the government proposal.

Amendment negatived.

MS TUCKER (3.25 am): I seek leave to move amendment No. 11 circulated in my name.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I move:

Page 14, line 39, proposed new subsection 29 (1), omit "of its choice", substitute "chosen by the victim from a list of health professionals approved by the Minister as having suitable expertise for examining and treating injuries of the type allegedly suffered by the victim".

This is another instance where a small change to the legislation can offer some choice and some recognition and respect for victims of crime. The purpose of this amendment is to offer victims of crime some of the capacity to moderate a direction on consulting or being examined by a specified health professional. I have to remind the Assembly that such a directive would only be issued if the Territory is a party to the application, which will be the case, so this is relevant. A victim of crime in such a situation may well be extraordinarily disturbed or vulnerable, and sensitivity ought to be paramount.

Research in Britain and the Netherlands identified sympathetic response and personal choice as key elements in the rehabilitation of victims. The freedom to select from a list of health professionals, which in the end is still very clearly determined by the Territory, would be a tiny concession by the Government, yet it could be of real personal significance to victims.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (3.26 am): Mr Speaker, the Government supports this amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

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