The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) is an administrative tribunal within the Court constituted by members who are magistrates.
Since 1997 VOCAT has received 62,773 applications, made 50,073 awards to victims of crime totalling $503 million.
In 1997 there were just over 1,000 applications and over 6,000 from 2011 – 2012.
These increased application numbers reflects the work done to increase VOCAT’s community profile and make it more accessible to victims of crime.
The increasing number of applications has caused VOCAT to struggle to make advances in improving timeliness with unwarranted delay potentially discouraging victims of crime and diminishing the impact of any financial assistance. The recent appointment of judicial registrars is one way of improving timeliness.
In 2011 to 2012 VOCAT received 6,163 applications for financial assistance.
52% were by female applicants.
55% of applications were as the result of assault. 57% of these applicants were male.
457 applications resulted from homicide.
268 applications resulted from rape.
6,403 applications were finalized.
4,346 applicants were awarded financial assistance.
29% of applications were determined at hearings with the remainder determined on paper without a hearing.
212 applications were refused assistance.
1,843 applications were withdrawn by the applicant or struck out by the Tribunal, an increase of 39% on the previous year.
3,658 awards, 84%, of financial assistance were made to primary victims.
365 awards, 8%, of financial assistance were made to secondary victims.
306 awards, 8%, of financial assistance were made to related victims
$47.8 million in financial assistance and legal costs to victims of crime was awarded, a decrease of 13% from the previous year.
$8,169 was the average amount of financial assistance awarded.
96% of primary victims were awarded Special Financial Assistance, with the average amount of Special Financial Assistance awarded being $3,173.
$3.5 million was awarded in interim financial assistance, mainly for counselling, a 20% decrease from the previous year.
$1.73 million was awarded for safety related.
$5.07 million was awarded for all legal costs, with an average amount being $1,116 per award.
33 applications for review of VOCAT decisions were determined by VCAT.
47% of applications were finalised within 9 months and 63% within 12 months.
VOCAT’s operating costs were $2,483,239 with the average cost per finalised application for financial assistance being $387.
For victims of crime support and advice call 1800 000 055 or go to www.victimsofcrime.com.au