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.

Victim Support Service

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The Victim Support Service offers confidential counselling and support services to victims of crime. These services are provided by professional counsellors and trained volunteers. It is not necessary for a person to be charged with an offence before you are eligible for support from the Victim Support Service.

The Victim Support Service 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

To arrange an appointment, contact your nearest Victim Support Service office (listed under Contact).

For further information about the Victim Support Service, refer to the below:

 

Child Witness Service

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The Child Witness Service provides free emotional support and practical preparation for children under 18 years of age who are required to give evidence to a court. The Child Witness Service 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.

Referrals usually come from either the child or young person's parent, or by an agency. Once a child is referred, the Child Witness Service will arrange an appointment for the caregiver(s) and child to meet a Child Witness Service worker.

To make a referral, contact your nearest Child Witness Service office (listed under Contact).

For further information about the Child Witness Service, refer to the below: 

For further information about children giving evidence, refer to the below:

Family Violence Service

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The Family Violence Service provides free and confidential court support services to family violence victims. 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.

The Family Violence Service assists victims 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 8.30am and 4.30am and can be contacted by Freecall 1800 600 476 or by attending your nearest Family Violence Service office (listed under Contact).

For further information about the Family Violence Service, refer to the Family Violence Service Brochure or see the Family Violence Service webpage.

Preparing a victim impact statement

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A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) 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 VIS. Throughout the court process you may be asked by the police, court or prosecutor if you want to prepare a VIS, or you can inform the court or prosecutor that you want to make a statement.

For information and guidance about how to write and lodge a victim impact statement, refer to Victim Impact Statement.

If you wish to obtain support to complete your Victim Impact Statement, contact Victim Support Service or Child Witness Service.

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.

Applying for criminal injuries compensation

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The criminal injuries compensation scheme pays compensation to victims of crime in certain circumstances. You may be eligible to claim compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 if you are a:

  • Victim of an offence in WA and are injured and/or experience financial loss as a result of the injury.
  • Close relative of a person killed in WA as a result of an offence and experience financial loss.

Injury includes bodily harm, mental or nervous shock or pregnancy resulting from an offence. Compensation may cover pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, treatment expenses and other incidental expenses, such as travel for treatment or damage to personal items such as clothing and spectacles.

To apply for criminal injuries compensation, complete an application form (Form 1 for claims for compensation for injury or Form 2 for claims arising from the death of a close relative) and send it to the Chief Assessor Criminal Injuries Compensation:

Chief Assessor
Criminal Injuries Compensation
GPO Box F317
PERTH WA 6841

Refer to the below for guidelines to assist you in completing the application forms: 

For further information about applying for criminal injuries compensation, refer to the Compensation for Victims of Crime Brochure, Criminal Injuries Compensation - Frequently Asked Questions or see the Compensation website. For further assistance, contact Criminal Injuries Compensation.

Applying for reparation orders

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

A reparation order is either a compensation order or a restitution order.

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

A court cannot make a compensation order if it is believed that the offender cannot comply with the order due to insufficient means or 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 2003. 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.

Applying for restraining orders

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If someone commits family violence or personal violence towards you, threatens you or your property, harasses or intimidates you and you are concerned that it will continue and put you at risk, you can apply to have a restraining order taken out against them.  

You can apply for a restraining order at a Magistrates Court or, if the respondent is a juvenile, in the Children's Court.  If the person seeking to be protected is a child and the respondent is not a child, the application can be made at either the Magistrates Court or the Children’s Court.  

If an urgent order is required to prevent family violence or personal violence and it is not possible to make an application to the court (e.g. it is outside of court hours or you are in a remote location), police can issue 72 hour police orders or apply for a Telephone Order. To request that police make an application on your behalf, telephone 131 444. Call 000 for emergencies.

For further information about restraining orders, see the Magistrates Court, Children's Court or Restraining Orders.  

National Domestic Violence Order Scheme (NDVOS)

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The 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.

To find out whether your WA restraining order is nationally recognised or to apply for a WA restraining order to be ‘declared’ to be a nationally recognised order, visit National Domestic Violence Order Scheme webpage.

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

Page reviewed 19 February 2020
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