What is VOCAT and am I Entitled to Compensation?

We are fortunate to live in a State where our Government is sensitive to the effects of violent crime.

That is why the Victorian Government founded The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT for short) and can provide compensation to you, as a victim of crime, regardless of your age, social status, or income.

What sort of crime can I claim through VOCAT?

VOCAT includes any crime that can lead to trauma, injury or death and has impacted the lives of the victim and those around them. 

Crimes include, but are not limited to, assault including sexual assault, domestic violence, robbery, rape, child abuse, culpable driving, murder, manslaughter, threats, bullying, harassment, breaching an AVO and other crimes that cause trauma and physical injury.  

Who can claim compensation through VOCAT?

If you were the victim of a crime in the state of Victoria, it was reported to the Police in a timely manner, and you suffered trauma or a physical injury from the incident, you should be able to make a claim through VOCAT.  A lawyer of your choice should provide a free discussion and advise you on your eligibility to claim. 

Yes, the act allows for those people who have suffered as a result of a violent crime. VOCAT victims are classified in three categories: 

Primary Victim of Crime

The person who experienced the crime. 

Secondary Victim of Crime

The person who was at the scene, witnessed the violence or suffered indirectly because of the crime (including parents or guardians of minors). 

Related Victim of Crime

A person who, at the time of an act of violence, had a close relationship with a victim who died (the primary victim). A related victim must be a close family member, a dependant or have been an intimate partner of the deceased.

How much compensation can I claim through VOCAT? 

As the primary person who suffered the crime, you can be awarded up to $60,000. A secondary person, related to the crime, can receive up to $50,000. A related victim, who at the time of the event had a close personal relationship (dependant, close family member, spouse) to a victim who died, can receive up to $50,000. The maximum total awarded to all parties can be up to $100,000. 

Can people who were not at the crime scene claim VOCAT? 

Yes, VOCAT allows for secondary and related victims of the crime to claim compensation and support in eligible cases. 

What does it cost to claim for VOCAT compensation? 

There is no cost to you to apply for VOCAT compensation regardless of whether you do the VOCAT application yourself or if you have a lawyer manage the application for you.

How do I claim for Victims of Crime (VOCAT) compensation? 

You can apply directly to VOCAT, through your local magistrate’s court after you have prepared the paperwork yourself, or you can go to a lawyer and they will prepare your paperwork for free and take you through the process at no cost to you.  

Are there special VOCAT lawyers?   

All qualified lawyers should be able to manage your VOCAT application however we advise you to use a lawyer who is sensitive and patient with you, as this can be a traumatic experience in itself. Generally speaking, a  local law firm that lists VOCAT on their site within easy travelling distance should be able to provide the personal service you need. Being a victim of crime is a personal experience so the  VOCAT lawyers you choose should be happy to offer you an initial free discussion and you should only use a law firm you are comfortable with. 

What costs will be paid in VOCAT compensation? 

VOCAT will pay for legal costs related to eligible claims, counselling, medical expenses and funeral costs if applicable. For more information on available compensation please review the following resources from the VOCAT website:

What is the first thing to do when applying to VOCAT?

You can fill out the paperwork yourself, however VOCAT will pay for an experienced lawyer to do that for you, so we suggest looking on the internet and finding a local lawyer that is fairly close to you. 

Your first step is to contact them for a free phone discussion or appointment. 

There are websites run by web companies that are set up to get enquiries and then they pass them on to lawyers for a spotter’s fee. These websites are run by sales organisations, not lawyers, so our advice is to be wary of those sites because the website will not represent the law firm providing the service. Search for actual lawyers in your area that mention VOCAT on their sites and choose a law firm you like the look and feel of. 

The law firm should never pressure you or charge you for their work related to VOCAT because all eligible cases are paid for by VOCAT.   A smaller firm will give you more personal service and make sure the person you talk to is going to run your case before choosing the firm if you like dealing with that individual lawyer at the first meeting.  

How do I make a successful VOCAT claim?

This information has been compiled by Grant & Co Lawyers a Melbourne-based community-minded lawyer who specialise in VOCAT cases. If you would like to call or have a free meeting with a Grant & Co Lawyers, then please call 1300 057 056 or contact us online to arrange a meeting.  There will be no cost and no obligation, and we will be happy to patiently discuss your situation. If you have kids, you can bring them in on your appointment too.  

Have you been a victim of violent crime? Applications for compensation at VOCAT are free.

Please contact us online or call 1300 057 056 for an obligation free assessment of your matter.

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