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Awards of crime compensation obtained by a Melbourne criminal injuries solicitor can be substantial. A victim of crime eligible to make a claim for compensation can be a person who is injured, a witness to the incident which involved violence or a person who is related to a victim of violent crime. Criminal injury compensation is available for both physical injuries and psychological injuries which may be the result of physical assault, sexual assault including rape, domestic violence and abuse, robbery, aggravated burglary, stalking, threats to kill, murder, culpable driving and other crime involving violence. There are very strict time limits for victims of crime to make a compensation claim in Victoria and legal advice should be obtained from a solicitor with a view to making an application for an award as soon as possible after the incident.

The following options are available from Melbourne criminal injuries solicitors for victims of acts of violence :-

Melbourne Victoria Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)

In most cases the Victoria Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal in Melbourne has the power to award financial assistance to an applicant if it is satisfied that on the balance of probabilities, a violent crime occurred.

A violent crime is generally:-

Financial assistance may be awarded even though no person has been charged with, found guilty of, or convicted of an offence arising from the act of violence. VOCAT can award financial assistance for loss of earnings, the cost of long-term counselling, special financial assistance, medical and funeral expenses.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof for a criminal conviction is one of 'beyond reasonable doubt' whereas to succeed on a claim for compensation as a victim of crime in Victoria it is only necessary to prove that on balance of probabilities a violent crime occurred. Whilst it is much easier to prove a case for criminal injuries compensation in Melbourne where there is a conviction, it is not necessary.

Co-operation & Conduct

In most applications for an award of crime compensation in Melbourne, the victims conduct, before, during and after the incident is taken into consideration during assessment of any award. Conduct which may affect the award includes both physical conduct and verbal conduct including the extent of any drunken behaviour. The victim must in addition have co-operated fully with the police and relevant authorities including reporting the incident which gave rise to the injury expeditiously, giving fully and detailed information and attendance at court as a prosecution witness as required. If the victim was in the process of committing an indictable offence at the time of the injury then an award may be refused.

Appeal Tribunal

In the event that a victim of crime is not satisfied with the award then an application for a review can be made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). There are time limits for making such an application in Victoria which should not under any circumstances be delayed. Appeals are usually held in open court and the victim and/or their legal representative may adduce evidence and may make submissions which may be countered by a representative from the victims compensation fund. Whilst the tribunal decision is final a further appeal can be made to a court of law on a 'point of law&' only.

No Win No Fee Solicitors

Our Melbourne criminal injuries solicitors offer free advice on compensation claims for the victims of crime. We operate using the no win no fee scheme and no legal charges are payable unless you receive an award of compensation. Our service is completely risk free. If you would like free advice from a qualified professional just complete the contact form or email our offices and an experienced solicitor will call you on the telephone to discuss you potential claim which we will assess there and then to give you an opinion on the chances of success and the estimated value of the likely award.



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