If so, you may be eligible for a payment from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund (the “Fund”) was created by the West Australian government as a scheme, designed to provide financial compensation for victims of crime.
The Fund was established in 1971. A victim of a crime may be entitled to compensation, if the crime occurred after this date.
The amount of compensation that is paid out to a victim is set out in legislation. Over the years, the monetary amount that can be paid out to an applicant has increased incrementally. The current maximum amount that can be paid to a victim is $75,000. The amount awarded to a successful applicant, will depend on the date that the offence occurred, and the injuries that were suffered by the victim.
The Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation (the “Office”) is the department that deals with the applications, assessments, and appeals made under the Fund. The Office is located within the Department of Justice, in Perth. The Office is comprised of case assessors who assess applications, and make decisions as to whether to grant compensation to victims of crimes.
After the Office receives your application, it gets reviewed. During that process, the Assessor may make further inquiries, and investigate any aspect of your application or supporting documentation as necessary, or ask for more information from you. The assessor may also direct you to see a health practitioner, and direct that the health practitioner provide the Assessor with a medical report detailing the examination.
Applications are determined mostly ‘on the papers’, meaning that the issues in dispute are decided based on the documentary evidence before the tribunal. The intention is to minimise the risk of re-traumatizing victims, by minimizing the instances of having to recount what happened.
Once you have given Mossensons details of the time, date and circumstances of the incident, we will prepare the necessary documents for lodgment. If all supporting documents are completed and lodged at the earliest opportunity, the time needed for the assessment will be expediated.
If you are claiming for losses suffered as a result of the offence, then you should provide evidence of those losses with your application. Documents such as medical reports detailing any injuries that you suffered, invoices for costs incurred by the injuries, such as treatments, should be provided. If you will require treatment in the future, such as ongoing counselling or medical treatment, a medical report indicating those needs may be helpful for the Assessor. If your earning capacity has been reduced, or lost due to health reasons relating to the offence, then details of how this occurred, will be required.
Please note: The Office cannot assess an incomplete application, therefore having all documentation complete at the time of lodgment is important for ensuring the process is expeditious.
The decision is based on the documents you provided in the application; however, the Assessor may ask you to give oral evidence at a hearing. The process of giving evidence to the Assessor is not as formal as that required in the usual courtroom setting, and is usually done in private, with only the Assessors present.
You may be asked questions about the evidence that you provided the Assessor, the circumstances of the crime, the impact it has had on your life, and anything else that the Assessor thinks is relevant to making the determination for an award of compensation. The Assessor decides whether to grant you an award, and if so, the amount of the award. If you are not satisfied with the amount awarded, then you can appeal to the District Court.
You must lodge the application, together with any supporting documentation, within 3 years of the date of the incident (or the date of the last offence, if there were multiple offences by the same offender). If more than 3 years have elapsed since the offence occurred, Mossensons can assist you in making a written request to the tribunal for an extension of time.
Please note: if the Police are still investigating your matter, or court proceedings are still ongoing, then the tribunal will be unable to make an assessment until proceedings are complete.
While the details of your application will remain confidential, some details must be provided to the offender so that they can respond. Not all applications proceed to a hearing, or require a hearing to be determined. Should your application proceed to a hearing, then the hearing will usually be conducted in private, unless the Assessor decides that the hearing should be conducted in public.
Your details, and certain details in your supporting documents will remain confidential, however please be aware that once a decision is made by the Assessor, it is usually made available online. Decisions are readily accessible to the media and to the public. In cases involving sexual offences, or young offenders, the name of the parties involved are not made public.
Once you have lodged your application with the Office, the offender is usually notified of your application. They may be provided with edited versions of your documents so that they can respond.
The notification will usually contain the date of the incident, the place at which it occurred, the Court’s location and the conviction date. The offender will be given 42 days from the date of receiving the letter, to provide a submission detailing any information that it would like the Assessor to be aware of.