Last updated 11 April 2017 This chapter is currently under review.
To apply for financial assistance the following must be complete:
- prescribed application form (funeral assistance or financial assistance)
- prescribed medical certificate completed by a registered health practitioner
- signed consent for the assessor to access relevant information
- signed and witnessed statutory declaration.
Primary victims (including special primary victims), parent secondary victims and witness secondary victims must provide a medical certificate that identifies their injury, the cause of the injury (as related by the victim to the practitioner/doctor) and if possible when the injury was sustained.
A related victim may not suffer a diagnosable injury as a result of the death of a close family member. Therefore, related victims only require a medical certificate if they are applying for assistance with medical, counselling or incidental travel expenses.
Who can apply
An application for financial assistance can be made by:
- the victim
- a parent on behalf of the victim, if the victim is a child under 18 years of age
- a victim child, if the child is at least 12 years of age and is represented by a solicitor
- the victim’s guardian, if the victim is an adult with impaired capacity
- an administrator, if there is no guardian appointed and the victim is an adult with impaired capacity
- an attorney under an enduring power of attorney, if there is no guardian or administrator and the victim is an adult with impaired capacity
- a member of the victim’s support network, if none of the above are applicable or available and the victim is an adult with impaired capacity
- someone else approved by the scheme manager for a victim who is a child or an adult with impaired capacity or otherwise requires assistance (s 51 Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 (Qld) (VOCA Act)).
A number of factors adversely affect a victim’s eligibility for financial assistance including where:
- the applicant conspired to commit an act of violence
- the primary victim was engaged in criminal activity that caused the act of violence
- the act of violence is not reported, unless there is a reasonable excuse for the report not being made
- reasonable assistance is not given in the police investigation, arrest or prosecution of the alleged offender and that failure to assist prevented the arrest or prosecution of the alleged offender.
Time limit for applications
A victim is required to lodge an application for financial assistance within three years of the act of violence. In the case of a victim who was a child at the time of the act of violence, the application must be made by the time they turn 21 years of age. A related victim’s application must be lodged within three years of the death of the primary victim (s 58 VOCA Act).
If the act of violence occurred before 1 December 2009 and there has been a conviction, the application must be made within three years of the perpetrator being convicted, or if the primary victim was a child at the time of the conviction, by the time they turn 21.
A victim may apply to the scheme manager for an extension of time for the purpose of applying for assistance (s 54(2) VOCA Act). Should an extension of time be refused, the victim must be given the reasons for the decision and the details for seeking an internal review of the decision (s 54(4) VOCA Act). The extension of time provision does not apply to applications for funeral assistance.
Amendments to grants of assistance
A grant of assistance can be amended under the VOCA Act if a victim’s circumstances change (s 101(1) VOCA Act). An adult victim may make one application to amend a grant of assistance per calendar year for a period of six years after the grant of assistance. In the case of a child victim, applications to amend a grant must be made before the child turns 24 years of age (i.e. six years from the day they turn 18).
Sections 107 to 120 and 185 to 194 (VOCA Act) set out a scheme for recovering from persons convicted of relevant offences amounts paid to victims as compensation pursuant to the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) or the Criminal Offence Victims Act 1995 (Qld) (as those Acts are applied by the transitional provisions in the VOCA Act) and financial assistance paid under ch 3 of the VOCA Act.