Victims of Crime Counselling & Compensation Services (VOCCS) provides state government funded counselling and compensation to victims of crime in Australia.
VOCCS also now provides free Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) to employees of businesses who have been victims of an armed robbery or similar crime in Victoria. CISD is conducted in our conveniently located offices on Victoria Parade Fitzroy or at the place of incident when possible.
Armed Robbery in Australia
Armed robbery is a serious crime that often has a very negative impact on individual victims and employees of businesses that are targeted. People who work in locations vulnerable to crime can experience significant emotional and psychological trauma when present during an armed robbery.
The most recent analysis of the victim-based National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program (NARMP) dataset showed the following statistics: there were 6,427 reported victims of armed robbery in Australia in 2008. Knives were used 51% and firearms 13% of the time. 40% of all armed robberies involving individual victims occurred in a retail setting and 48% occurred in an open setting. The average age of an armed robbery victim was 30 years, and males were more than three times more likely to be victimised than females. Organisations or commercial premises accounted for 27% of victims. 62% of organisations reported repeat victimisation. 67% of armed robbery incidents occurred between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am. 45% of the time firearms were used in banking and financial settings and 39% of the time in licensed premises. 62% of the time knives were used in corner stores, supermarkets, takeaways, post offices and newsagents. 56% of the time cash was stolen and 16% electrical goods, such as mobile. On average, armed robbery offenders netted $1,662 per incident.
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)
A “critical incident” is an event that causes an unusually intense stress reaction, such as an armed robbery or physical assault. Often the distress a victim experiences after a critical incident limits their ability to cope, impairs their ability to adjust and negatively impacts on their work and social life.
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a process that aims to prevent or limit the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms in victims exposed to critical incidents. Professionally conducted debriefings can help victims cope with and recover from the effects of trauma. CISD aids victims to understand that they are not alone in their reactions and provides them with the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment mediated by an experienced psychologist. CISD should be conducted within seventy-two hours of the critical incident. CISD also helps to identify those individuals that are most likely to suffer medium to long terms effects and who will most benefit from further professional intervention.
Victims of crime, such as victims of an armed robbery at a workplace, are entitled to seek financial compensation through the state government under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act (VOCA) 1996. Currently the average amount of financial compensation awarded to a victim of an armed robbery in Victoria has been $3,250.00. Victims of Crime Counselling and Compensation Services assists victims to access this financial compensation through our in-house solicitors and there is no cost whatsoever to the victim with the complete process usually involving one appointment only.
Victims of an armed robbery or similar crime often do not wish to make a Workcover claim for various reasons. Making a crime compensation application often provides financial restitution for any out of pocket expenses that the victim may incur, such as time off work and medical or pharmaceutical expenses, together with validating their experience of trauma aiding in recovery.
We have found that those individuals who are promptly supported by their employer and who make a crime compensation application are less likely to make a Workcover claim. The application for crime compensation can be completed at the same time as the CISD. VOCCS has successfully processed many thousands of such applications for victims of crime over the past fifteen years.
Employer Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Many businesses are currently paying very large amounts of money for Employer Assistance Programs to provide such services as CISD when they can in fact be provided free of charge through our organisation. Similar to services offered by EAPs, our crisis intervention involves customised programs to meet the various types of critical incidents that an employee might experience, crisis intervention can be arranged immediately following a critical incident and management can be provided with recommendations, including follow-up services. Referrals can also be arranged for employees to obtain free counselling through various state and federal government funded schemes.
Furthermore, where an employee is the victim of another form of violent crime, such as domestic violence or sexual abuse, they may also be entitled to access state government funded crime compensation services through our organisation, such as financial assistance and counselling, taking the economic burden off your organisation to pay for counselling and related services in these difficult financial times. In such instances victims of crime may be entitled to up to $70,000 in financial and other forms of assistance to aid in their recovery. Annually, only 10% of all reported victims of violent crime who are entitled to make a claim for crime compensation actually do so with the main reason for failing to do so being a lack of informed knowledge.
How We Can Assist
- Provide free Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)
- Assist individuals in making Crime Compensation applications
- Reduce the number of potential Workcover claims
- Refer individuals to state and federal governments counselling schemes
- Assist employees to recover as quickly as possible
- Significantly reduce EAP and related costs to business
To discuss these or any other similar requirements your organisation may have please contact the Client Services Manager directly on (03) 9415 9492.
To arrange Critical Incident Stress Debriefing kindly call our office as soon as possible following the armed robbery or critical incident on 1800 000 055.