The Koori VOCAT List (List) has been operating within the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal since 2006. It developed as an initiative of several Tribunal Members and registrars who, through their involvement with the Koori community, were aware that the Tribunal was not receiving the number of applications for assistance by Koori victims of crime they would have expected.
The List was the Tribunal’s attempt to understand why this was happening, to become involved with the Koori community, and to try and develop procedures that would increase the number of Koori victims of crime accessing their entitlements under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996.
The Tribunal realised that, while it maintained a large volume of statistics about the applications it received, it did not have any information about applications by Koori victims of crime. It did not know where these applications were coming from, how many it was receiving (if any), whether applicants had legal representation, or whether victimisation between Koori and non-Koori people differed. Importantly, the Tribunal did not know the nature of Koori victims’ experiences and/or their concerns as victims of crime.
To address this, the Tribunal organised a series of community forums to invite discussion about the Tribunal’s response to Koori victims of crime, to understand the experiences and concerns of Koori victims of crime and to build a relationship between the Tribunal and the Koori community. The forums took place in 2004 and 2006 and led to the inclusion of an Indigenous identifier question on the Tribunal’s Application for Assistance form, enabling it to gather statistics about applications by Koori victims of crime, and to the introduction of the Koori VOCAT List.
The Koori VOCAT List commenced operation as a 2-year pilot project from 1 July 2006, and was subsequently extended as a pilot until 30 June 2009.
On 30 June 2009, the Chief Magistrate issued Practice Direction No.2 of 2009 – Koori VOCAT List, which confirmed that the Koori VOCAT List will continue as an ongoing part of the Tribunal’s operations.
Further information regarding the development and current operation of the Koori VOCAT List is outlined in the Report Koori VOCAT List Pilot – Review and Recommendations Report and under the Administration of the Koori List.