The Victims Rights and Support Bill 2013 passed through the lower house on 22-05-13 and will now be debated in the upper house. NSW is in the process of abolishing its existing Victims Compensation Scheme and replacing it with a Victims Support Scheme that will significantly reduce the amount of financial compensation awarded to victims of crime. Under the existing scheme victims are eligible for compensation of at least $7,500, and up to $50,000 if the victim is found to have suffered a chronic condition that is severely disabling. The current Bill proposes a ‘recognition payment’.  For example, the recognition payment for a physical assault is proposed to be $1,500.00, whether this is a one off assault or repetitive assault, such as in domestic violence or family violence crimes. Significantly reducing the amount of crime compensation can send the message that we do not care about victims of crime or about what they have been through potentially causing them further emotional and psychological harm. If the NSW government is looking at ways of saving money maybe they should be looking at ways of taking away services and entitlements from those that commit the crimes rather than those who suffer from crime. Such changes as these are not in the best interest of the public and should not be enacted.

2 thoughts on “Crime Compensation – NSW

  1. Tammara Stewart

    I cried today. I cried over what he did to me and how he treated me again. Although it has been 4 years since I grew the courage to stand up for myself and leave, I cried. 4 years ago my then husband, wrapped a towel around my neck and while shoving me across a single bed, proceeded to pull it tight and try to strangle me. Today, I was told by the powers that be, that my injury was not sufficient to be considered valid. If the impact and injury caused to me by his actions on that night were all that occurred, I would almost be fine with that. But the cover up and carry on that preceded that night and then continued for weeks, months and years after, has left me very angry and feeling, worse than anything else, a victim.
    You see, my then husband, was a police officer. Trusted and loved at work, he would come home almost every night and terrorise me to the point of tears. This occurred for at least 3 years of our marriage. I was constantly told I was fat, ugly, useless and completely unlovable. And I began to believe it. No one else would have me, so I was just lucky that he would. After 3 years of crying, I stopped. One night after a particularly vile attack, a switch in my brain flipped and I was no longer able to cry when provoked. I had switched off. This also unfortunately meant that he no longer got his jollies from my tears, and his attempts to hurt me began to escalate. An arm grab here, a push against a door here, violently screaming in my face till I was spit spattered…. I dreaded hearing his truck pull up out the front every night. I hated that he had made it home safely and I wished him dead every day.
    After the attack that broke the camel’s back, (and almost mine), I left. And that is when the fun and the cover up began. From my initial reports not getting filed, to having police attend my home after another violent outburst from him and actually telling me that they “don’t like to arrest their own”, it was a roller coaster of hell for over 9months while I tried in vain to get an AVO in place to protect my children and me. One Detective, who since lost his job over the handling of this matter, lied and delayed proceedings in the matter and practically refused to travel 10 minutes to serve the AVO papers… yet was willing to travel an hour and a half to take a statement from me when I finally conceded and decided not to pursue things further.
    You would think that that would be the end of things, but it wasn’t. Throughout this time I continued to receive threats against my life, the children’s lives, and the lives of any one I was willing to become involved with. I was called every despicable name you can think of and continued to get letters, texts and calls almost daily.
    When finally enough was enough again, I contacted police, and was lucky enough to find someone outside the mates club that was willing to listen and help. After almost a year of bullshit, I had my AVO and things went quiet… for a while. Now that he couldn’t hurt me physically or verbally, he attacked me financially. He refused (and continues to refuse) to pay child support of any kind, sold off our assets and left me holding the burden for home loans and business debts. Court cases followed to determine the care of our three beautiful children, and even throughout those proceedings he did everything he could to threaten and intimidate, not only me, but my solicitor and the judge… Yet this is not valid suffering or abuse in the eyes of the Victim Tribunal. A system that was initially set up to protect victims of violent crimes, now offends and humiliates those that attempt to seek its help in order to protect the coffers.
    I can handle my claim being dismissed. I was not in it for the money. I think I was merely seeking validation for my fears and feelings that I suffered throughout what was one of the worst times of my life. What I don’t like, and refuse to believe is that my pain and suffering is not sufficient nor valid enough to deserve compensation and that my councellors sessions were seen as merely “self-serving”.
    Fortunately for me, I had a friend remind me, that I needn’t seek outside myself for the truth or for validation. I know what happened. I know I have done my best to protect my children from the horrors of it, and at the end of the day, given the time again, I would probably not do anything differently, because at the end of the day, it has gotten me here. I may be practically penniless, raising three boys by myself and battling cancer, but I am free and I am happy, and not even he or some stupid tribunal can take that away from me ever.

  2. Dear Tamara, I have read your story of courage and perseverance! You are a remarkable lady and I am a strong believer of Good things come to those who wait. I, like you, have had my fair share of ups and downs, seems more bad than good. I am on the comeback, but when the wind gets knocked out of us as strong women, it takes a hell of alot of blood, sweat and tears to fight back. I am sorry you have suffered with the physical, and mental abuse! and that of a Police Officer, it goes t show how they protect their own, and at times nearly get away with murder in the process. Keep your head up, at the end of the day, God is the judge!! Justice will prevail. You should write a book :)

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