Apply for Victims of Crime Compensation with Expert VOCAT Lawyers in Melbourne
Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) was established by the legislation in Melbourne to acknowledge and provide monetary assistance to the victims of crime in Victoria. It was established by the Victims of Crime Assistance Act of 1996.
At Daniel Lawyers & Associates, we have tons of experience helping our clients draft applications for VOCAT.
What is VOCAT?
VOCAT aspires to be a commiserate and compassionate forum for applicants to relate their experience as victims of crime. The applications for financial aid are carefully assessed by Tribunal members, who are also Magistrates or Judicial Registrars of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal consists of a Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and other personnel. The latter hold the magistrate’s office under section 7 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 or acting magistrate under section 9 of that Act.
Who can apply for VOCAT?
In order to apply for monetary assistance by VOCAT, one must be a victim of a violent crime that caused severe injury or loss. The injury could be due to a plethora of reasons such as violent Acts, robbery, family violence, actual physical bodily harm or mental impairment or emotional disorder. Typically, the client must be able to establish a clear link between the crime and the injury. Furthermore, the crimes should be reported to the police within a reasonable time. It is important to note that it’s not the arrest that is required. This is done to prove to the tribunal that a crime has definitely taken place. Furthermore, the crime should’ve occurred within the last two years. One can also apply to the tribunal even if your partner or family member committed the crime.
How to apply for VOCAT?
At Daniel Lawyers and Associates, we have very efficient criminal compensation lawyers who help clients on a day-to-day basis with their application to VOCAT.
In order to apply, one needs to fill in an Application for Assistance form and send it to the tribunal.
Interestingly, if the client has a lawyer, the tribunal will pay for the lawyer’s fees, even if they refuse the application. This is usually done at the tribunal’s discretion. Under some circumstances, Victoria Legal Aid might also assist these victims in making an application.
What assistance is available at VOCAT?
Apart from the financial support, the tribunal also helps with a range of expenses including counselling, medical, safety-related, and funeral expenses. Survivors may also get assistance for lost earnings and other reasonable expenses which assist their speedy recovery. Furthermore, the amount of assistance a client is eligible for is based on the following:
- Whether the person is injured in the crime
- Someone has witnessed a crime or is a parent of a child victim
- A relative or dependant of someone has died as a result of an act of violence.
Compensation through the courts
As a victim of a crime, one can receive a court order for compensation if the offender is proven guilty of the offence. However, the survivor must ensure that the applications must be filed within 12 months of the court’s decision. Furthermore, the skilled and experienced crime compensation lawyers at Daniel Lawyers & Associates advise their clients to apply to the sentencing judge to receive compensation for any pain and suffering experienced as a direct result of the crime.
Therefore, it is vital to discuss the details of the claim with a lawyer as early as possible. Furthermore, the judge can release an order for compensation. This implies that the offender is responsible for paying the compensation. In case, the offender has no assets, it may be challenging to get any payment. However, in such situations, the court will take into account the offender’s financial circumstances.
Get in touch with us on (03) 9687 3211 for a free 30-minute phone consultation or email us at [email protected].