Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead has welcomed the decision by NSW Attorney General the Hon Gabrielle Upton to have the claims of victims of crime who were in the transition between the old Victims Compensation Scheme and the new Victims Support Scheme.
Mr Bromhead said that in June 2013 the NSW Government introduced the Victims Support Scheme (VSS) to replace the Victims Compensation Scheme (VCS).
This followed a review by PricewaterhouseCoopers that found victims of crime had to wait on average 31 months for claims to be finalised and that the old compensation scheme was overly bureaucratic and financially unsustainable.
“A key part of the justice system is ensuring the victims of crime are treated with care, compassion and respect,” Mr Bromhead said.
“It was clear from talking to victims and stakeholders, that elements of the transition of these claims from the old Victims Compensation Scheme to the new Victims Support Scheme created some inequities.
“Applicants must apply before 31 August 2016 to have their matter reassessed and will have six months from the date of their application to provide sufficient evidence as required under the old scheme.
“No applicant would be worse off after their claim is reassessed. If the reassessed determination is greater than the initial, the individual will receive the difference between their initial and final determination.
“However, if the reassessed determination is less, they will not have to pay any money back.”
All eligible victims will receive written notification from the Department of Justice during September outlining the application process.
Applicants must apply before 31 August 2016 to have their claim reassessed.
Applicants will have six months from the date of their application to provide sufficient evidence as required under the old scheme.
In cases where they received more support from the transitional scheme, they will be given the opportunity to withdraw their application.
Mr Bromhead said the cost of reassessing transitional claims and making compensation payments to claimants has been accounted for in the NSW Budget.
“The new Victims Support Scheme is delivering better support for the victims of crime,” Mr Bromhead said.
“People now receive payments within a month rather than 31 months under the old scheme and can also access extensive counselling by qualified professionals.”
For more information call the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Victims Services website at http://www.victimsservices.justice.nsw.gov.au/