You might be eligible for criminal compensation if you've been affected by crime. This is not regulated at a federal level and is overseen by each individual state or territory. The amount that you might be awarded can vary significantly depending on the severity of the crime and your classification as a victim:
- Someone who has been directly injured by a crime. You might have received physical injuries or emotional trauma as a result of the crime.
- A person who was present when a crime was committed or who arrived in the immediate aftermath, and who has suffered a resulting level of physical or emotional trauma.
- A family or related victim is someone who has suffered as a result of a violent crime being perpetrated against a family member, such as the family of a murder victim.
Applying for Compensation
Compensation is generally paid to you by the applicable body in your state or territory. The authorities might then attempt to reclaim that amount from the offender, but you are not a part of that process. You must make the claim for compensation in the state or territory where the offence occurred. You can make the application yourself, or you can instruct a lawyer to make the claim on your behalf. You will need to pay the lawyer's fees in this instance (whereas there is no cost when making the application yourself). Some lawyers will act on your behalf in a "no win, no fee" capacity, wherein you only need to pay the lawyer if your claim is successful.
Regardless of your victim classification, it's vital to be aware of the time restrictions when applying for compensation. Each state or territory has a statute of limitation when it comes to making an application, although there are some exceptions. Extensions are generally permitted once an application for extension has been made to the magistrate. An extension might be requested if the claim is particularly complex, such as when the full extent of any physical or emotional trauma has not been determined.
The time limits for making a claim in each state and territory are as follows:
- Western Australia: 3 Years
- Victoria: 2 Years
- Queensland: 3 Years
- New South Wales: 2 Years
- Tasmania: 3 Years
- South Australia: 3 Years
- Australian Capital Territory: 1 Year
- Northern Territory: 2 Years
Additional funds can sometimes be awarded at a later stage if you launch a civil claim (lawsuit) against the offender. This is classed as a direct claim against the offender, rather than a request for compensation from a state or territory authority.