Advice to improve access to domestic violence compensation

THE STATE government has accepted recommendations to change the way victims of domestic violence receive compensation.

A review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 recommended broadening the definition of violence to "ensure victims of domestic and family violence are able to access the scheme".

The 15 recommendations in the review will be considered when parliament resumes next year.

CQUniversity's Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research director Dr Annabel Taylor said compensation was important to domestic violence victims, not just for financial support, but for the message it sent.

"It's so as a community we can demonstrate to the victim that yes we are concerned about the harm they have experienced," she said.

"This is an attempt to address at least some of that harm."

However Dr Taylor said money alone could not compensate the suffering. "It probably doesn't anywhere near match the cost to the victim," she said.

She domestic violence victims suffered blows to their financial position through loss of employment and having to relocate families interstate.

"All of which has a long-lasting impact on the overall status of that family," she said.

Some of the recommendations in the review made access to compensation easier for victims.

These include removing the requirements for statutory declarations and medical certificates in applications.

The report also recommends increasing some maximum amounts of compensation, raising the funeral assistance limit from $6000 to $8000.

Any amendments to legislation will be made when parliament resumes in February.

What does the review say?

Some of the 15 recommendations

  • Remove the requirement for financial assistance applications to be verified by a statutory declaration.
  • Remove the requirement for a medical certificate about the victim's injury to accompany the application form.
  • Expand the definition of 'act of violence' in the VOCA Act to include an act of domestic and family violence to align with the definition under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.


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