A Guide to applying for. and enforcing. Compensation for Victims of. Crime in the County Court.

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1 A Guide to applying for and enforcing Compensation for Victims of Crime in the County Court.

2 Introduction This brochure explains how and when a victim of an offence can make a claim for compensation through the County Court. Compensation The court may order that a person found guilty, or convicted of an offence, pay compensation to a person who has suffered loss as a result of that offence. An application for compensation may be made for: Pain and suffering which could include: > Emotional distress, such as grief and trauma > Physical injury > Psychological harm Expenses incurred for medical purposes, counselling services or other related losses; and Property loss or damage to replace or repair goods that have been stolen or damaged.

3 How can I claim from the Offender? An application for compensation from the offender can be made by the Director of Public Prosecutions on your behalf at the time the offender is found guilty or sentenced. OR An application for compensation can be made at a later date by filing an application with the Court together with a supporting affidavit (a written statement made on oath) and serving the offender with both. It should be noted that the application must be made within 12 months of the offender being found guilty or convicted of the offence Such application may be made by you personally or by your legal representative. In some circumstances the time for making a compensation application can be extended and it is recommended that legal advice is sought All applications for compensation from an offender are heard and determined by a Judge. How can I ensure that the offender pays me once a compensation order has been made? Once a compensation order for a monetary amount is made by a Judge it is an order of the Court and can be enforced. When the money is paid by the Offender it will be forwarded to you.

4 What if the compensation is not paid by the Offender? The following steps can be taken; A formal letter of demand could be addressed to the offender advising that an order has been made and that the debt is now due and payable; You may agree to an instalment arrangement whereby the offender pays a regular amount of the debt directly to you until it is paid in full; You can issue an Order for oral examination at the Court which summonses the offender to court to enable his/her financial circumstances to be examined; You can issue a Warrant of seizure and sale at the Court and then lodge it with the Sheriff s Office for execution; or You can apply to the Court for an order that the money be deducted from the defendant s wages. The options outlined can be complex and it is advisable that assistance be sought from a legal practitioner. Assistance with regard to procedure may be obtained from the County Court Registry by calling (Tel) Whilst Court staff can assist with procedural advice please note that they are not able to provide legal advice.

5 Where else can I go for help? Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal was established by the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 to acknowledge and provide financial assistance to victims of crime committed in Victoria. The Tribunal operates throughout Victoria and provides awards of financial assistance to victims of crime for certain expenses to assist them in their recovery from the crime, special financial assistance in some circumstances, and award for distress in cases where the act of violence resulted in death. All venues of the Magistrates Court of Victoria are venues of the Tribunal. Traffic Accident Commission (TAC) For crimes involving a motor vehicle, for example culpable driving, a claim may be made to the TAC. The TAC can be contacted on WorkSafe Victoria If the incident occurred at work, a claim may be made to WorkSafe Victoria. The contact number is Medicare A claim may be made for some medical bills through Medicare and/or a Private Health Insurance provider. The contact number for Medicare is A person seeking compensation should be aware that generally they may only claim for a particular expense from one source otherwise any amount awarded may be reduced. In addition to applying for compensation from the offender, a victim can issue civil proceedings for damages against the offender and this is so whether or not the offender has been found guilty of an offence.

6 CONTACTS Victims of Crime County Court of Victoria Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) 250 William Street Melbourne Vic Tel: (03) Registry operating hours 9:00am- 4:00pm (M-F) Principal Registry Melbourne Magistrates Court Level 2, 233 William Street Melbourne Tel: Note: all venues of the Magistrates Court are venues of the Tribunal Office of Public Prosecutions 565 Lonsdale Street Melbourne Vic Tel: (03) Sheriff's Operations 1/277 William Street Melbourne Vic 3000 Tel: (03) (Criminal) Tel: (03) (Civil) Victims Charter Enquiries & Complaints Line victimsofcrime Tel: Victoria Legal Aid Tel:(03) Victims of Crime Helpline victimsofcrime Tel: Federation of Community Legal Centres Tel: (03) Victims Assistance & Counselling Programme throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria. Call the Victims of Crime Helpline for referral. November 2008

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