Victims Compensation: Vital for Victims
On 30 May 2013, the NSW Government abolished the Victims Compensation Scheme and created a new Victims Support Scheme.
Our main concerns about the new scheme are:
- The new scheme applies to victims already in the old scheme. This means that victims awards will be significantly lower. The Government's own Review of the Victims Compensation acknowledged that for existing claimants it would be unfair to change the goal-posts midway.
- The new scheme imposes a 10year time limits for claims by victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- The new scheme ignores and undervalues trauma suffered by victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
- The new scheme requires victims to have reported the crime to the police or Government agency to be eligible for compensation. Many victims are fearful of police and report their crime to support service.
Details about the new scheme can be found on the NSW Government changes to Victims Support webpage
During the 2014 NSW election, the NSW Government made a commitment to partially reverse the 2013 changes to the former Victims Compensation Scheme. Victims who lodged an application for compensation under the old scheme (before 7 May 2013) were able to apply for reassessment from 1 September 2015 until 31 August 2016.
Following the NSW Government's announcement About how they will partially reverse the 2013 changes to the former Victims Compensation Scheme, Community Legal Centes NSW sent a letter to the Attorney General with suggested adjustments to the claims reassessment process.
Community Legal Centres NSW wrote a letter to the NSW Attorney General with a series of recommendation based on the first 12 months of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013. The Law Society of NSW have also put in a submission regarding the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013.
Over 30 leading legal, human rights, health, community and women’s organisations joined together to file a complaint about the changes to Victims Compensation in NSW with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against women, its causes and consequences, Ms Rashida Manjoo.
Community Legal Centres NSW is deeply concerned that the changes violate a number of important human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur asked for additional information and has been provided with the letter to the NSW Attorney General based on the first 12 months of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013. Download the CLCNSW media release.
When the Victims Rights and Support Act passed in 2013, Community Legal Centres NSW issued a media release.
Review of old scheme
PricewaterhouseCoopers were engaged by the Attorney General to review the Scheme and provide a report by 30 June 2012.
Price Waterhouse Coopers released an "Issues Paper", posing a series of questions, to obtain input from stakeholders. The Issues Paper is available here.
Despite the short time frame for response many CLCs and other organisations made submissions.
These submissions do not necessarily reflect the views of CLCNSW.
- CLCNSW submission
- Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre submission
- Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre submission
- Women's Legal Services NSW submission
- Kingsford Legal Centre submission
- Macarthur Legal Centre submission
- Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre submission
- The Legal Aid NSW submission is available on their website
- The Australian Lawyers Alliance submission is available on their website
- Submission from David Shoebridge MLC, Greens NSW Justice Spokesperson
- The Shopfront Youth Legal Centre submission
- Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse submission
- MetWest Violence Prevention Network submission
- Submission by Edwina Birch, Clinical Psychologist
- Women in Prison Advocacy Network submission
- Hawkesbury Sexual Violence Prevention Network submission