Page 204 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 February 2016
Holistic case management processes will support applicants to progress their applications and receive assistance when they need it. The new scheme will also reduce barriers for victims of crime by removing the burden of attending court, avoiding complex legal processes and reducing reliance on legal representation.
Decision-makers under the new scheme will also be subject to clear guidelines and decision-making standards to ensure transparency, predictability and consistency. Victims of crime will also have access to external review of decisions by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Madam Speaker, I might now outline some of the things victims of crime are eligible for under the new scheme. Primary victims of crime will be able to apply for a maximum total of $50,000 of financial assistance. This amount can be made up of a combination of an immediate needs payment, an economic loss payment and a recognition payment. The new scheme also provides assistance for the relatives of people who die as a result of a homicide. These related victims will be eligible to apply for a maximum total of financial assistance of between $10,000 and
$30,000 depending upon their relationship with the deceased person.
Homicide witnesses who are injured as a result of the crime will also be eligible to apply for up to $10,000 of financial assistance. Homicide witnesses will be able to access financial assistance for the first time under this scheme. The structure of the new scheme is based on extensive consultation and responds to concerns about the number of people who were unable to access assistance under the current scheme, including many victims of domestic violence, witnesses of violent crimes and victims who suffer extremely serious but not necessarily permanent injuries.
Under the new scheme, victims who have been injured as a result of a wide range of offences will be eligible for financial assistance. More victims of domestic violence will be able to access support under the new scheme. For example, victims of property crime in a domestic violence context, including where a protection order is breached, will be able to apply for up to $10,000 for payments including the cost of safety measures for personal security or relocation costs. These domestic violence victims are currently not eligible for any payments under the current scheme. Victims of crime who suffer extremely serious but not necessarily permanent injuries will be eligible for a recognition payment, based on the offence involved.
Importantly, the new scheme provides four categories of assistance for victims of crime: immediate need payments; economic loss payments; recognition payments; and funeral expense payments. For the first time victims of crime will be able to access immediate need payments to ensure they receive support when they actually need it most. Immediate need payments are a capped amount of financial assistance available for specific expenses that victims incur or may require urgently.
The purpose of these payments is to promote the applicant’s recovery, prevent further harm and limit further threats to the safety of the person. Victims of crime will be able to access urgent financial assistance for costs such as emergency medical treatment, security measures to ensure their safety and relocation costs. Financial assistance to cover the costs of cleaning the scene of a homicide will also be available.