Did a Violent Crime Occur?
The Tribunal relies primarily upon information from Victoria Police in determining whether the crime that is the subject of an application for assistance occurred, and whether the applicant is a victim of that crime.
Upon an application for financial assistance being lodged, a registrar will write to Victoria Police to request information about the alleged crime, the criminal history of the applicant (if any), and the criminal history of the deceased if an applicant claims assistance as a related victim.
The Tribunal must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a violent crime (known as an ‘act of violence’ under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996) has occurred. An act of violence means a criminal act, or a series of related criminal acts, whether committed by one or more persons, that has:
- Occurred in Victoria; and
- Directly resulted in injury or death to one or more persons, irrespective of where the injury or death occurs.
It is not necessary for the alleged offender to be prosecuted or convicted of the crime. However, the criminal act that caused the injury must be serious enough to be punishable by imprisonment.
Criminal act means an act or omission constituting a relevant offence, or that would constitute a relevant offence if the person has not been incapable of being criminally responsible for it on account of:
- Age, mental impairment or other legal incapacity preventing him or her from having a required fault element; and
- The existence of any other lawful defence.
Relevant offence is:
- An offence, punishable by imprisonment, that involves an assault on, or injury or a threat of injury to, a person;
- An offence of rape, indecent assault, incest, a sexual offence against a child or person with a cognitive impairment, other sexual offences;
- An offence of stalking, child stealing or kidnapping; or
- An offence of conspiracy to commit, incitement to commit or attempting to commit any of the above.
The Tribunal must refuse to make an award of assistance if:
- The act of violence was not reported to police within a reasonable time; or
- The applicant failed to provide reasonable assistance to any investigation, arrest or prosecution arising out of the act of violence unless the Tribunal considers that ‘special circumstances’ brought about that result.
See the Eligibility Issues page for further information regarding mandatory refusal.
Does the Tribunal consider claims relating to property loss or damage?
The Tribunal cannot award financial assistance for expenses incurred through the loss of, or damage to property as a result of a crime, except clothing worn at the time of the crime and in some cases security expenses.