Have you been a victim of an act of violence? Would you like some cash to get back on your feet?
First of all, who doesn’t like free cash? But this isn’t any payment, this payment is to help out when a person has been the victim of an act of violence.
Through a Victim Assist Application, you could receive a payment (which can be between $1,000 to $10,000) in recognition that an act of violence has occurred to you, and reimbursement for any out of pocket expenses you have had, such as medical costs, counselling costs, or security upgrades to your house.
Victim Assist can also help parents or relatives of victims, as well as witnesses, who have suffered because of an act of violence.
Who Can Apply?
There are four types of people that can apply:
A Primary Victim: the person who is the victim of the act of violence.
A Parent Secondary Victim: the parent of a victim of an act of violence, when the parent has suffered a psychological or emotional injury and financial loss as a result of the act of violence to their child.
A Witness Secondary Victim: a witness to the act of violence who has suffered a psychological or emotional injury and financial loss as a result of the act of violence.
A Related Victim: a close family member of a victim who has died.
Take Jane for example. Jane was physically assaulted by her former partner, which left her with an injury to her left hand. Jane had to have three weeks off work unpaid, and now sees a psychologist to deal with the anxiety as a result of the assault.
What do I need to be eligible?
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, the first step is to make sure you are eligible - which you may be if you can tick off these 4 criteria:
There has been an of an act of violence.
There has been an injury suffered because of the act of violence.
This act of violence happened in Queensland.
The act of violence has been reported to the police, or at least a doctor, psychologist, counsellor or domestic violence worker.
Let’s go through each of those requirements one by one:
There has been an act of violence
An act of violence can mean a range of different things, such as:
A physical assault (such as being hit, pushed, or choked)
A sexual assault or rape
Robbery or burglary with any violence
Stalking or kidnapping
Motor vehicle incidents (such as dangerous driving causing death)
Murder, manslaughter or attempted murder
Domestic and family violence (such as physical, emotional, verbal, mental, financial or sexual abuse)
In Jane’s case, she was psychically assaulted.
There has been an injury suffered because of the act of violence
Victim Assist takes a large range of injuries into consideration, such as:
Physical injuries (such as bruising, wounds, bone damage, damage to teeth, or pregnancy)
Psychological injuries (such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders or mood disorders)
Emotional injuries (such as injuries that affect concentration or sleep, or fear or worry that impacts on the ability to resume normal life)
If you have suffered a sexual offence or domestic and family violence, then the injury can also include:
A sense of violence or reduced self-worth
Increased fear or feelings of insecurity
Unpleasant feelings towards sexual relations
Unpleasant impact on feelings.
Victim Assist will need evidence of this injury, but that is as simple as getting your doctor, psychologist or any other health practitioner to fill out a short medical certificate, or by providing your hospital discharge summary.
In Jane’s case, her injury was a bone injury to her left hand, but also a psychological injury because she now has anxiety.
This act of violence happened in Queensland
The act of violence must have happened within the State of Queensland.
It is also important to know that if the act of violence happened before December 2009, then there must be a conviction in the District or Supreme court for that offence.
For anything that has occurred after December 2009, then you do not need a conviction.
In Jane’s case, the police are yet to charge her former partner with the assault, so there has been no conviction, but she will still be eligible.
The act of violence has been reported to the police, or at least a doctor, psychologist, counsellor or domestic violence worker
Victim Assist need to be able to confirm that the act of violence happened, and they can’t just take your word, so they need to speak to other services which know about the act of violence.
For most acts of violence, they must be reported to the police. Victim Assist will then speak to the police to confirm that the act of violence happened.
But obviously that isn’t always possible, and Victim Assist understands this. So, in some circumstances, you can have reported the act of violence to a doctor, psychologist, counsellor or domestic violence worker, if:
You are under 18 years old
You have an impaired capacity
You have suffered a sexual offence or domestic and family violence
The offence was committed by a person in a position of power or trust over you
You were threatened or intimidated by the perpetrator
You will need to have told the doctor, psychologist, counsellor or domestic violence worker about what happened, when and where it happened, and how it has affected you so far.
In Jane’s case, she reported the incident to the police.
What payments can you get?
Ok, so you think you can jump through all of those hurdles? Excellent! Then we are on to the important part; what sort of payment can you get?
There are two types of payments:
Special Recognition Payment
This is paid to primary victims in acknowledgment that an act of violence has occurred to them. This payment can be really empowering for you if the police are unable to help, to feel like what you have been through is not just going to be ignored.
If the act of violence happened before 1 July 2017, the payment will be between $130 to $10,000.
If the act of violence happened after 1 July 2017, the payment will be between $1,0000 to $10,000.
If you are aged under 18, then the payment will go into a Trust until you turn 18.
This is paid to primary victims, parent secondary victims, witnesses and related victims. Victim Assist will reimburse you for out of pocket expenses that have occurred due to an act of violence, such as:
Medical treatment: including doctors’ costs, medication or medical equipment
Counselling expenses: to see a psychologist or counsellor including past and future expenses
Damage to clothing: to replace clothing worn at the time of the act of violence (available to primary victims only)
Loss of earning: to reimburse any unpaid time off because of the act of violence (available for primary and parent secondary victims only)
Other expenses: to reimburse any other expenses that have arisen due to the act of violence, such as security upgrades to a house or relocation costs.
In Jane’s case, she will be eligible for a special recognition payment. She will also be able to be reimbursed for the costs of the doctor appointments her left hand injury, pain medication for her left hand, the psychologist appointments and the three weeks she had off work unpaid.
How to apply?
Does this sound like something you may want assistance with? If so, contact us and we can help you through the process of working out whether and what you are eligible for, fill out the application and submit it for you.
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