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Who can apply to VOCAT for aid?

To be eligible for financial assistance the crime must have been reported to the police in a reasonable period of time, and the applicant must:

  • have been a victim of an act of violence in Victoria and have suffered an injury, or
  • be a secondary, or related victim, or have incurred funeral expenses as a direct result of the death of a primary victim, and
  • have applied to VOCAT within 2 years of the violent crime, although VOCAT will consider out-of-time applications where certain circumstances will be taken into account.

See How to apply to VOCAT.

Offender need not have been prosecuted

A person can apply even if the offender has not been charged with, prosecuted for, or convicted of, the crime. In these situations VOCAT will make its own investigation and decide on the balance of probabilities if the violent crime has occurred.

'Did a violent crime occur?' in VOCAT—Determining an application(opens in a new window).

What is a criminal act of violence?

The relevant criminal offences are defined in the Act. They are:

  • an offence that is punishable (on conviction) that involves an assault or injury or threat of injury to a person
  • rape or indecent assault
  • incest
  • sexual offences against children
  • sexual offences against people with a cognitive impairment
  • administration of drugs to commit a sexual offence
  • person who permits unlawful sexual penetration to occur
  • abduction or detention
  • procuring sexual penetration by threats or fraud
  • sexual offence while armed with an offensive weapon
  • stalking
  • child stealing
  • kidnapping
  • or conspiring, attempting or inciting anyone to commit any of those offences.

See 'relevant offence' in s. 3—Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What is an injury?

An injury could include:

  • actual physical harm
  • a mental illness or disorder including:
    • nervous shock or
    • aggravation of an existing mental illness or disorder
  • pregnancy.

An injury does not include damage to personal property.

See s. 3—Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What is a reasonable amount of time to report to the police?

When considering what a reasonable amount of time for the crime to be reported to the police VOCAT may have regard to the victim’s:

  • age
  • intellectual disability
  • mental health
  • whether the person who committed the violent crime was in a position of power, influence or trust in relation to the victim
  • whether the victim was threatened or intimidated by the person who committed the violent crime
  • nature of the injury
  • other circumstance it considers relevant.

See ss. 52, 53—Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Exception to requirement to report to police

Note: There is an exception to this where under ‘special circumstances’ VOCAT may consider applications which have not been reported to the police. If the crime has not been reported to police, the applicant will have to include a statutory declaration that sets out:

  • the circumstances of the act of violence, and
  • reasons for not reporting the matter.

See ss. 26(2), 53—Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information


Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines 'act of violence', 'criminal act', 'injury', 'relevant offence'
  • Part 2—eligibility for assistance
  • s. 7—who is a primary victim?
  • s. 9—who is a secondary victim?
  • s. 11—who is a related victim?
  • s. 15—assistance for funeral expenses
  • s. 18—applicant can only apply in one capacity
  • s. 25—who may apply to the Tribunal?
  • s. 26—form of application
  • s. 50(4)—making of awards
  • s. 53— reasonable time for reporting act of violence

See Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

  • s. 21A—stalking offence
  • s. 63—creates offence of child stealing
  • s. 63A—kidnapping

See Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)(opens in a new window).


Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal

The VOCAT website has the following information about assistance available to victims of crime. See:

Or go directly to the homepage on Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal(opens in a new window).

Fitzroy Legal Service

Fitzroy Legal Service’s Law Handbook has the following information about assistance available to victims of crime:

See 'Prerequisites to assistance from the Tribunal' in Assistance for victims of crime(opens in a new window).