Compensation to be made more readily available for victims of domestic violence
The Not Now, Not Ever: putting any end to domestic violence in Queensland Report (“Report”) has brought about many positive changes to domestic violence laws in our state.
One of the latest, and important changes, being proposed amendments to the state’s Victims of Crime Assistance Act (“VOCA”). A review of the Victims of Crime Fund found that changes needed to be made to allow more people to access the fund.
Earlier this month, the Queensland government promised to follow through on all of the recommendations in the Report. In the report there were 15 recommendations, with a key recommendation including recommendation 7, an expansion of the definition of an act of violence to an act of domestic and family violence so that it aligns with the definition under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act to allow all victims can seek financial assistance under the scheme.
On 19 December 2015 the Brisbane Times reported that 14% of all applications for financial assistance were related to family or domestic violence. It is therefore vitally important for our government to recognise and implement the recommendations.
Other key recommendations include:-
- Recommendation 2 – amend the VOCA Act to remove the requirement for financial assistance applications to be verified by a statutory declaration to ease the burden on victims when first applying for financial assistance.
- Recommendation 3 – amend the VOCA Act to remove the requirement for a medical certificate about the victim’s family to accompany the financial assistance application form to ease the burden on victims when first applying for financial assistance.
If you would like to read the full report “Final Report on the review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009” of December 2015 please see: http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2015/5515T1894.pdf
If you require legal assistance with respect to domestic violence or family law matters please contact our family law department at McLaughlins Lawyers.
Author: Nicole Fitzgibbon
Partner: Sophie Pearson