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Criminal Injuries Compensation

The criminal injuries compensation scheme awards compensation to victims of crime under certain circumstances. In WA, this scheme is governed by the Injuries Compensation Act 2003.

When can an application be made for Criminal Injuries Compensation?

An application must be made within three years of the date on which the offence was committed or if the application relates to more than one offence, the date the last offence was committed.

An assessor may allow a compensation application to be made after more than three years has passed if they believe it is just to do so.

Who can make a Criminal Injuries Compensation claim?

To be eligible to make a claim for compensation, a person must be:

  • A victim of a proved criminal offence in Western Australia who has been injured and/or experienced financial loss;
  • A close relative of a person killed in WA as a consequence of the commission of a proven criminal offence, who has suffered loss as a result of the death.

What compensation is available?

Compensation is available for injuries such as bodily harm, mental and nervous shock or pregnancy and incorporates pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Compensation is also available for:

  • Loss of earnings;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Travel for medical treatment; and
  • Damage to personal items.

‘Personal items’ mean an item of clothing, spectacles or lenses to correct eyesight, hearing aid, artificial teeth, an artificial limb or any appliance or implant.

To make a claim for damaged personal items the person must provide a receipt or quote for the cost of replacement for the item. Damage to a motor vehicle, mobile phone, jewellery and home contents are not compensable.

If a victim is injured and suffers loss, the loss consists of expenses actually and reasonably incurred by or on behalf of the victim that arose directly from the offence or from obtaining reports from health professionals or counsellors. Loss also includes expenses that are likely to be reasonably incurred by or on behalf of the victim for treatment that the victim is likely to need, loss of earnings or any loss arising from any damage caused as a direct consequence of the commission of the offence to any personal item that was being worn when the victim suffered the injury.

In the event a victim dies, the termloss’ means any loss suffered by a close friend or relative of the victim for which damages could be awarded to the relative under the Fatal Accidents Act 1959 if the death of the victim was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another.

When will Criminal Injuries Compensation not be awarded?

An assessor must not make a compensation award in favour of a victim, or a close relative of a deceased victim if the assessor is of the opinion that there is a relationship or connection between the person who committed the offence and the victim or close relative and by reason of the relationship or connection, any money paid under the award is likely to benefit or advantage the person who committed the offence.

A person’s eligibility for compensation may be affected if:

  • The victim or close relative did not do any act or thing which he or she ought reasonably to have done to assist in the identification, apprehension or prosecution of the person who committed the offence;
  • The person was injured as a consequence of the commission of the offence and the injury was suffered when the person was committing a separate offence; or
  • If an award has previously been made in favour of the victim from another source or a compensation order has been refused previously.

How much compensation can be awarded?

The amount of compensation a person receives will depend on the extent of the injuries and losses they have suffered. The maximum compensation that may be awarded will also depend on the time the offence was committed.

The table below provides the maximum amounts which can be claimed depending on the year the offence was committed

On or after 1 January 2004$75,000
Between 1 July 1991 and 31 December 2003$50,000
Between 1 January 1986 and 30 June 1991$20,000
Between 1 January 1983 and 31 December 1985$15,000
Between 18 October 1976 and 31 December 1982$7,500
Between 22 January 1971 and 17 October 1976$2,000

If a person is awarded compensation there will be a component for the injuries which includes pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. When assessing the claim, the assessor will take into consideration the Victim Impact Statement and any medical reports and supporting documentation.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

April Jarmoszewicz - Solicitor - Perth

This article was written by April Jarmoszewicz - Solicitor - Perth

April Jarmoszewicz holds a Bachelor of Laws from Murdoch University and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law. She is admitted to practise in the Supreme Court of Western Australia and in the High Court of Australia. April has a strong passion in Criminal Law and since her admission, has worked exclusively in Criminal Law. Prior...

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