ONE crime victim every week is complaining about the long wait for desperately needed financial help to recover from their ordeal.

Some victims of crime are waiting up to two years to be compensated, it has been revealed.

Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies said his office received a complaint every week from a victim about their claim.

“We get more complaints about VOCAT (Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal) claims than any other,” he said.

The high number of complaints had led the Commissioner to believe there was a systemic issue.

That is why his office plans to make a submission to a Victorian Law Reform Commission review into the tribunal.

Mr Davies said he had seen some victims languish for more than two years while waiting for their application to be approved, while on average it took nine months.

“It takes nine months to create a human being, surely we can have a victim of violent crime assisted through VOCAT in weeks or one or two months,” he said.

“The lengthy delay was usually not due to VOCAT itself.

“It appears that most of the delay is caused by incomplete claims, whether done by the applicant or the legal representative.”

Decorated former homicide squad detective Ron Iddles revealed the delay in his first report as Victoria’s community safety trustee.

He has demanded an overhaul of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal, which was set up in 1997.

“Currently, on average, it takes around nine months to finalise an application, and some matters span more than two years,” he writes.

“If the approach is ‘victims first’, then the current process warrants review, in the interests of quick resolution for victims,” Mr Iddles said.

He report stated that the “limited capacity” of the Victims of Crime Commissioner’s office was a “matter for consideration moving forward”.

The office only has two full time staff to assist victims.

But $3.41m has been committed over four years and would enable the office to hire one more full time staff member this financial year.

A primary victim may be awarded up to $60,000 for reasonable expenses incurred in recovering from the crime, and special assistance of up to $10,000; secondary and related victims may be awarded up to $50,000

Victims of crime for prompt assistance & advice call (03) 9415 9492 or go to www.victimsofcrime.com.au or email: support@victimsofcrime.com.au

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