Within Queensland, family members of victims of homicide may make an application to the Queensland Department of Justice and their department below, for recovery focused financial assistance.
Recovery Focused Financial Support
Victim Assist Queensland (VAQ) is the assistance scheme that provides access to specialised support services and financial assistance to help victims of crime recover and get their lives back on track. Financial assistance is available to victims of crime to help pay for or reimburse the costs of goods and services that they might need to help them recover from the physical and psychological effects of a crime. A victim is eligible to receive assistance from VAQ if an act of violence that resulted in an injury (physical or psychological) or death of a person in Queensland has been reported. Victims of crime can apply for assistance immediately and directly to VAQ and do not have to go through the court system.
Financial assistance received by a victim will depend on the type of victim and the seriousness of the act of violence. Victims who can apply for financial assistance include:
- Primary victims – people who are injured as a direct result of an act of violence committed against them;
- Related victims (people who, at the time of the act of violence were close family members of, a primary victim who died as a result of an act of violence).
- For acts of violence that occurred on or after 1 December 2009:
- Witness secondary victims (people who are injured as a direct result of witnessing an act of violence);
- Parent secondary victims (parents or guardians injured as a direct result of an act of violence against their child under the age of 18).
Applications for assistance will be assessed by a government assessor in VAQ, if a person is found eligible and depending on the type of victim, financial assistance can be provided to cover:
- Counselling expenses;
- Medical and dental expenses;
- Reasonable incidental travel expenses;
- Loss of earnings up to $20,000;
- Interim assistance up to $6,000;
- Funeral expenses up to $6,000;
- In exceptional circumstances, other reasonable costs related to the recovery of the victim from the act of violence.
To receive assistance an applicant must:
• Have reported the act of violence (to the police in most instances)
• Send VAQ a completed financial assistance application form. This will include consent for VAQ to obtain further information on the applicant, the act of violence and the injury if required;
• Provide proof of payments made, such as invoices, receipts and statements, for the cost of goods and services as needed by the victim to be reimbursed by VAQ.
More information and all approved forms and medical certificate forms are available at www.justice.qld.gov.au or by calling Victims Linkup on 1300 546 587.
Please contact QHVSG on 1800 774 744 for further information on how to apply for these funds, or for practical assistance in making an application. If you are a victim of homicide who was physically injured during the assault itself, you may be eligible to apply for further Criminal Injuries Compensation. Again, please contact QHVSG on 1800 774 744 to discuss this further.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers has partnered with the Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group to provide specialised advice on legal matters concerning our members including criminal compensation applications and personal injury/civil claims. QHVSG members can apply for a free 30-minute consultation. http://www.mcinneswilsonlawyers.com.au
For further information on whether you may have access to a criminal compensation or personal injuries claim, we recommend contacting Chris McManus or Jacqui Buckley at McInnes Wilson Lawyers on (07) 3014 6516 (please see link) or contact us.