Des Pearson, Victorian Auditor-General, criticised the Victims Support Agency stating that the waiting time to receive counselling under this model can be up to five months and that the quality of counselling services provided varied. http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/publications/2010-11/20110209-VoC.pdf
For victims of crime, especially violent crime, it is important that they receive support and redress soon after the crime itself. Counselling delays of up to five months can turn a momentary crime into life-long trauma.
The question then becomes does the VSA actually pose a danger to the well-being of victims of crime by impeding prompt and proper treatment services? Historically any attempted to monopolize free competitive trade within a democratic system has always been shown to be a dismal failure.
Robert Clark in the past has stated that it can take many weeks or even months for someone to be able to see a counsellor, even in the case of a very serious crime and on top of that, very serious concerns are being raised about the adequacy of the service provided by the Victims Assistance and Counselling Program (VACPs) with the people operating that program lacking either the qualifications or the experience needed in order to properly provide assistance to victims who are referred to them.
Mr Clark also stated that: it is worth making the point that the Victims Assistance and Counselling Program is, as I understand it, virtually the sole program to which victims are referred when they contact the Victims Support Agency, which is operated by the Department of Justice. It has also been put to me that the victims assistance and counselling program is not properly geared up to provide effective and accurate legal advice to the victims who are referred to it, with the result that claims are not being properly prepared and presented. It has also been suggested that the program is providing poor counselling service and that it is failing to refer victims for appropriate psychological counselling or psychiatric assistance when it is needed, with the result that people are not being referred to a qualified practitioner until a long time has passed, with the result that their problems have become far worse and it is far more difficult to assist them when they are eventually referred. victimsofcrime.com.au/victims-crime-bill-victims-deserve-support/
Mr Clark it is time to clean up the mess with a free democratic model for the delivery of services to victims of crime, similar to that of our Workcover or TAC systems, be allowed to evolve and this is the only way to ensure the prompt, efficient and appropriate delivery of services to victims of crime. Let us now put victims of crime at the heart of this model not beaurocrats tentatively holding onto positions of power. Let us never forget that ‘power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.