Support for Victims of Crime

Services and support available to victims of crime.

As a victim of crime, making decisions can be difficult and confusing. During this time, it is vital that a victim is treated with courtesy, compassion and respect.

You can consider yourself a victim of crime if you suffer injury or loss as a direct result of an offence or you are a member of the immediate family where an offence results in the death of an individual.

A priority of the Department of Justice is to give victims of crime access to quality services and a stronger voice in the justice process. By allowing victims a more formal role in the criminal justice system, the Department can significantly contribute to restoring a victim’s sense of wellbeing.

The Department is responsible for a range of services which offer advocacy and support to victims of crime in Western Australia.

Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime

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The Commissioner for Victims of Crime has particular responsibility to ensure that both members of the public and government agencies are aware of the Victims of Crime Act 1994 and of their corresponding rights and responsibilities under that Act.

The Commissioner:

  • Provides high level advice and expertise to the Director General and the Attorney General on issues surrounding victims of crime in Western Australia.
  • Monitors and reviews the effect of all elements of the justice system on victims of crime with a particular focus on Police and court practices and procedures.
  • Builds and sustains effective communication and working relationships with key stakeholders, victims of crime, government agencies and industry representatives.

The Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime can provide assistance with applications under the Historical Homosexual Expungement Scheme, Homicide Funeral Assistance Scheme and National Redress Scheme.

Contact the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime or see the Victims of Crime website for further information.

Child Witness Service

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The Child Witness Service is available at any court in Western Australia including the Magistrates Court, Children's Court, District Court or Supreme Court.

The Child Witness Service is a voluntary and free service available to children under 18 years of age who are to give evidence to a court.

Trained staff can assist with:

  • accessing services such as counselling, police, legal, medical and other relevant services
  • working with the WA Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions and providing the child with up to date information as a matter progresses through the court system
  • preparing a child for giving evidence in court and providing in court support
  • helping a child to prepare a victim impact statement.

The Child Witness Service is available Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm and can be contacted by:

Contact

Perth Metropolitan area

Child Witness Service
Level 2, District Court Building
500 Hay Street
PERTH WA 6000

Phone: (08) 9425 2850 or 1800 818 988
Email: ChildWitnessService@justice.wa.gov.au

Regional locations

Victim Support and Child Witness Service

Albany
Albany Courthouse
184 Stirling Terrace
ALBANY WA 6330
Phone: (08) 9845 5222

Broome
Kimberley Regional Offices
2 Weld Street
BROOME WA 6276
Phone: (08) 9194 2400

Bunbury
Ground Floor,
Bunbury Courthouse
65 Wittenoom Street
BUNBURY WA 6230
Phone: (08) 9781 4294

Carnarvon
Carnarvon Courthouse
Cnr Robinson Street and Babbage Island Road
CARNARVON WA 6701
Phone: (08) 9941 5566

Derby
Derby Courthouse
Loch Street
DERBY WA 6728
Phone: (08) 9191 2274

Esperance
Esperance Courthouse
100 Dempster Street
ESPERANCE WA 6450
Phone: (08) 9071 6318

Geraldton
Geraldton Courthouse
Marine Terrace
GERALDTON WA 6530
Phone: (08) 9964 4816

Kalgoorlie
Kalgoorlie Courthouse
208 Hannan Street
KALGOORLIE WA 6430
Phone: (08) 9093 5334

Karratha
Karratha Courthouse
Balmoral Road
KARRATHA WA 6714
Phone: (08) 9143 1877

Kununurra
Kununurra Courthouse
94 Coolibah Drive
KUNUNURRA WA 6743
Phone: (08) 9166 7130

Northam
Northam Courthouse
118 Wellington Street
NORTHAM WA 6401
Phone: (08) 9622 7017

South Hedland
South Hedland Justice Complex
Hawke Place
SOUTH HEDLAND WA 6722
Phone: (08) 9172 9313

Peel
Mandurah Courthouse
333 Pinjarra Road
MANDURAH WA 6210
Phone: (08) 9583 1120

Rockingham Justice Complex
15-17 Whitfield Street
ROCKINGHAM WA 6168
Phone: (08) 9527 7699

Publications

Criminal Injuries Compensation

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The Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation (OCIC) is a specialist tribunal providing a flexible and informal approach to determining applications for compensation by victims of crime in Western Australia.

The OCIC operates pursuant to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 which provides for the payment of compensation to victims of offences committed after 22 January 1971 in some circumstances, and for related matters.

For further information and to lodge an application, refer to the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation website.

Family Violence Service

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The Family Violence Service is available at the Magistrates Court of Western Australia at Armadale, Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland, Perth and Rockingham.

The Family Violence Service is a voluntary and free service available for family violence victims who may need assistance with court support, information and referral to other services. The court based support is available for family violence victims who are making an application for a Family Violence Restraining Order or are involved in a criminal matter listed in the Family Violence List in the Magistrates Court.

Trained staff can assist with:

  • accessing services such as counselling, police, legal, medical and other relevant services
  • information about ongoing court matters and preparing for court and in court support
  • assessment of risk and safety issues.

The Family Violence Service is available Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm.

Contact

Family Violence Service
Phone: 1800 600 476
Email: FamilyViolenceService@justice.wa.gov.au

Publication

National Domestic Violence Order Scheme (NDVOS)

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The National Domestic Violence Order Scheme (NDVOS) aims to strengthen the protection of victims of family violence by eliminating barriers to the enforcement of restraining orders. A person protected by a nationally recognised order can move between States and Territories without losing the protection of the order. The NDVOS also makes it easier for police to prosecute breaches where the victim and perpetrator are located in different states (eg where the breach occurs over the internet).

Orders that are recognised under the NDVOS can be enforced by local police across Australia. A person who breaches a recognised order will be penalised under the law of the State or Territory in which the breach occurred. All of the restraints included in a recognised order operate nationally. Once an order is nationally recognised, it remains nationally enforceable until it expires or is cancelled by a court.

For further information about the NDVOS and how to apply for national recognition of orders, refer to the Magistrates Court, Children’s Court or the national NDVOS.

Restitution and Reparation Orders

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A reparation order is either a compensation order or a restitution order. It may take the form of:

  • a compensation order - where an offender makes a compensation payment to the victim of the crime
  • a restitution order - requiring that property is returned to the victim.

A reparation order is on top of, and not part of, the sentence imposed on an offender. It may be made by a court on its own initiative or following an application from a victim or the prosecutor.

A court cannot make a compensation order if it is believed that:

  • the offender could not comply with the order due to insufficient means
  • paying the compensation would unduly prejudice the welfare of the offender's dependants.

Even if a reparation order is made, a victim can still take civil action against the offender for loss, injury or damage suffered and apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act.

Payment of compensation or restitution cannot be made a condition of a community-based order or an intensive supervision order.

If a victim does not receive compensation ordered by the court, they may take civil action.

Contact your nearest court for more details.

Victim Impact Statement

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A Victim Impact Statement tells the judge or magistrate about how a crime has affected you and may be taken into account when the offender is sentenced.

It is your choice whether you make a Victim Impact Statement. Throughout the court process, you can inform the court or prosecutor that you want to make a statement. You also may be asked by the police, court or prosecutor if you want to prepare a statement. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can help you to do this.

For information and guidance about how to write and lodge a Victim Impact Statement, please refer to the below information.

When is a victim impact statement used?

It is used if the offender pleads guilty or is found guilty by the court. The prosecutor will present your written victim impact statement to the court before the judge or magistrate decides the sentence. Sentencing can occur immediately after the offender is found guilty, or the judge or magistrate may set another time for sentencing.

The Prisoners Review Board (the Board) is also interested in understanding the impact of the offence upon you if the offender in your case is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and may be considered for parole release at some future time. There are two ways you can provide your views to the Board.

  • Submit a copy of your VIS direct to the Board or seek the assistance of the prosecutor (Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) or Victim Support Service in submitting it on your behalf. The prosecutor or Victim Support and Child Witness Service will need your written consent to submit the VIS on your behalf.
  • Contact the Board directly on 9423 8700 and provide your VIS to them prior to the parole hearing. You can register with the Victim Notification Register (VNR) to be notified of parole hearings relating to your offender. VNR can be contacted on + 6 18 9425 2870.

Can I make a verbal statement?

This will need to be discussed with the prosecutor. The prosecutor will consult with the judge or magistrate who will make a formal decision.

Who gets to see my VIS?

Three copies go to the court. One is for the judge or magistrate, one is for the prosecutor, and the offender’s lawyer also gets a copy. The offender usually gets to see your VIS. Sometimes the prosecutor may read some or all of your statement to the court. The judge or magistrate may also refer to your VIS when sentencing. This means other people in the court (which may include the media) can hear your statement.

How long should it be?

It should be concise but cover all important points.

What do I include in my statement?

You might like to include:

  • details of any physical injuries and the effect of these
  • injuries on your life
  • where the crime has resulted in death, you may wish to talk about the deceased person and the life they led
  • details of the emotional impact of the crime on you and your family
  • information about what your life was like before the crime if it has changed (including any career changes or loss of future prospects)
  • details of the financial impact of the crime (for example, lost wages, medical or counselling expenses, transportation costs and damage to property)
  • any request for compensation or restitution to be considered by the court
  • any other information you think is important.

Is there anything I should not include in my statement?

You should not include:

  • anything that is abusive or offensive
  • details of the crime, as this is contained in your police statement
  • how you would like the offender to be sentenced
  • anything that is factually inaccurate.

How do I set out the information?

There is no set style for writing a VIS. It is important, however, that you write it in your own way and sign and date it. You can download a word document to use as a guide for writing a VIS. The statement can then be emailed to the Victim Support and Child Witness Service for additional guidance. Email vss@justice.wa.gov.au.

How do I lodge my victim impact statement?

The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can forward your VIS to the court for you. If you would like to lodge it yourself, you will need to deliver your original VIS and two copies to the Children’s/Magistrates Court before the date the offender is due to be sentenced. If the offender is being sentenced in the District or Supreme Court, your VIS must be delivered to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Download the brochure below for the addresses of the agencies.

Can I get someone to help me write a victim impact statement?

Any person can assist you, but it is important the statement is in your own words. The Victim Support and Child Witness Service can also help you.

What do I do if I cannot write in English?

Contact the Victim Support and Child Witness Service. Staff can help you to write it in English or can arrange to have your statement translated from your language into English.

Publications

Victim Support Service

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The Victim Support Service is available at the Magistrates Court of Western Australia, District Court of Western Australia and Supreme Court of Western Australia.

The Victim Support Service is a voluntary and free service available to victims of crime.

Under the Victims of Crime Act 1994, victims are defined as:

  • people who suffer injury or loss as a direct result of an offence
  • any member of the immediate family where an offence results in the death of an individual.

Trained staff can assist with:

  • counselling and support
  • accessing services such as counselling, legal, medical and other relevant services
  • information on the status of police investigations
  • information about ongoing court matters and preparing for court and in court support
  • help write a victim impact statement
  • help with enquiries about your rights in the criminal justice system, including criminal injuries compensation claims.

Contact

Perth Metropolitan area

Victim Support Services
Level 2, District Court Building
500 Hay Street
PERTH WA 6000

Phone: +6 18 9425 2850 or 1800 818 988
Email: vss@justice.wa.gov.au

Regional locations

Albany
Albany Courthouse
184 Stirling Terrace
ALBANY WA 6330
Phone: (08) 9845 5222

Broome
Kimberley Regional Offices
2 Weld Street
BROOME WA 6276
Phone: (08) 9194 2400

Bunbury
Ground Floor,
Bunbury Courthouse
65 Wittenoom Street
BUNBURY WA 6230
Phone: (08) 9781 4294

Carnarvon
Carnarvon Courthouse
Cnr Robinson Street and Babbage Island Road
CARNARVON WA 6701
Phone: (08) 9941 5566

Derby
Derby Courthouse
Loch Street
DERBY WA 6728
Phone: (08) 9191 2274

Esperance
Esperance Courthouse
100 Dempster Street
ESPERANCE WA 6450
Phone: (08) 9071 6318

Geraldton
Geraldton Courthouse
Marine Terrace
GERALDTON WA 6530
Phone: (08) 9964 4816

Kalgoorlie
Kalgoorlie Courthouse
208 Hannan Street
KALGOORLIE WA 6430
Phone: (08) 9093 5334

Karratha
Karratha Courthouse
Balmoral Road
KARRATHA WA 6714
Phone: (08) 9143 1877

Kununurra
Kununurra Courthouse
94 Coolibah Drive
KUNUNURRA WA 6743
Phone: (08) 9166 7130

Northam
Northam Courthouse
118 Wellington Street
NORTHAM WA 6401
Phone: (08) 9622 7017

South Hedland
South Hedland Justice Complex
Hawke Place
SOUTH HEDLAND WA 6722
Phone: (08) 9172 9313

Peel
Mandurah Courthouse
333 Pinjarra Road
MANDURAH WA 6210
Phone: (08) 9583 1120

Rockingham Justice Complex
15-17 Whitfield Street
ROCKINGHAM WA 6168
Phone: (08) 9527 7699

Publications

Victim-offender mediation

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The Corrective Services Division provides mediation between victims and offenders through the Victim-offender Mediation Unit. The unit can advise victims on the offender's movement, release or escape from custody through the Victim Notification Register.

Page reviewed 30 November 2020