Victims of Family Violence
As of 1 July 2010 the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 was amended to enable the Tribunal to make awards in relation to safety-related expenses without the requirement for exceptional circumstances to be established by an applicant. Awards of financial assistance for safety-related expenses comprise part of the financial assistance that may be awarded to a primary victim for expenses incurred, or reasonably likely to be incurred, up to the maximum statutory limit of $60,000.
This amendment enables the Tribunal to respond more quickly and effectively to victims of family violence who attend at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to apply for an intervention order. Some of the people for whom such orders are made are at risk of further violence and require additional assistance regarding their security, such as changing the locks or installing a security alarm at their home. In other circumstances, a person may feel that there is no alternative but to leave their home and incur expenses for the relocation or alternative accommodation.
Urgent financial assistance for safety-related expenses
Applicants requiring urgent financial assistance for safety-related expenses are encouraged to apply to the Tribunal for an interim award of financial assistance. Applications for interim financial assistance must be made in writing, setting out the reason for the request, and can be considered at any time prior to the final determination of an applicant’s application for assistance.
Applicants who are attending the Magistrates’ Court for the purposes of obtaining an interim intervention order under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 may be eligible to apply to the Tribunal for an interim award of financial assistance for safety-related expenses.
Applicants should speak to a registrar at the Magistrates’ Court or their legal representative if this situation applies to them.