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Victims of crime and family violence

Victims of crime and family violence

By Victorian Law Reform Commission


The VLRC is reviewing how family violence victims engage with the victims of crime assistance scheme. The recent Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised that Victoria's victims of crime assistance scheme has a role in helping family violence victims rebuild their lives and recover. However, the Royal Commission raised concerns about how family violence victims engage with the scheme. In particular, victims of family violence who have suffered emotional or economic abuse may face difficulties accessing the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) if they are not a victim of a "criminal act" as defined under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (the Act). The Royal Commission heard that even where victims of family violence are eligible for assistance, the law does not adequately recognise the cumulative harm caused by protracted family violence. It also heard that the requirement for VOCAT to notify people with a legitimate interest in the matter may require VOCAT to contact perpetrators of family violence and invite them to participate in proceedings. This would have the effect of re-traumatising family violence victims. Other concerns include:

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