The Tribunal may make an award of special financial assistance to a primary victim who has suffered a significant adverse effect as a result of a crime being committed against them. Awards of special financial assistance provide the Tribunal with the opportunity to make a payment to a victim on behalf of the community in recognition of the harm suffered by the victim as a direct result of a violent crime.
Special financial assistance is awarded in addition to the $60,000 that may be awarded to primary victims by the Tribunal for counselling and medical expenses, safety related expenses, loss of income and other expenses incurred by the primary victim.
The Tribunal may make an award of special financial assistance in the following circumstances:
- Criminal act of violence which occur on or after 1st July 2000;
- Childhood sexual abuse which occurred on or after 1st July 1997;
- Childhood sexual abuse which occurred prior to 1st July 2000 (where no application has been made to the Crimes Compensation Tribunal) provided that:
- The alleged offender has been committed or presented for trial after 1st July 1997; or
- The charge is heard and determined summarily irrespective of the outcome; or
- The person charged dies without the charge being determined.
Offences are organised into four categories in order to claim for special financial assistance. Each category has a prescribed minimum award level and a prescribed maximum award level. Higher awards will be reserved for more serious offences, such as rape, incest and sexual penetration of a child. Less serious offences, such as common assaults, will attract lower awards. For further information regarding each category and the prescribed limits see the attached Special Financial Assistance Table.
Sometimes the Tribunal may ‘uplift’ the maximum amount of special financial assistance available for a certain category of act of violence to the next category. For example, in certain circumstances the category A maximum amount maybe available for category B or C acts of violence.
Situations in which a higher amount of special financial assistance might be awarded include:
- where a lower-category act of violence has had a particularly severe impact on the victim (such as permanent life-long serious physical injury); or
- situations involving sustained abuse against a particularly vulnerable individual (such as a child or person suffering from an intellectual disability or mental illness).