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The scheme for Criminal Injuries Compensation is regulated by the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1976 (Tas) (VOCA Act). The government makes payments to acknowledge the pain and suffering of a victim of crime, and compensate for loss of income or expenses that are the result of the criminal conduct. It is also possible to sue the person who committed the crime, if they have assets this is a possible option.

The procedure for applying for compensation and for the hearing of applications is administered through the Justice Department and is intended to be simple. It is in an applicant’s own interests to have legal representation. An application must contain prescribed information and has to be supported by a statutory declaration. Applications are available online or copies of the relevant forms can be obtained from the Victim’s Assistance Unit, Level 1, 54 Victoria St, Hobart.

An application should contain as much information as possible about the offence such as the date of the offence, the police station it was reported to, the name of the investigating officer, the name of the offender (if known), and how the crime has affected you, physically and psychologically.

The application is lodged with the Victim’s Assistance Unit. The applicant is asked if they wish to be represented at the hearing . The applicant can choose to attend the hearing or not, but it is in their best interest to attend the hearing. It will take up to four months for your application to be processed.

An application must be filed within three years of the injury or, in the case of a child, within three years of turning 18. An application for an extension of time is available, but it is not enough to just explain the delay or to state that the applicant was unaware of their right to claim until the three year period had expired. An extension of time may be granted where the a ‘special circumstance’ exists. This means ‘unusual’, ‘uncommon’ or ‘exceptional’. An example might be the resulting impact of the offence being the reason for the delay – this would mean that the physical or psychological harm of the offence.
 

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