Applications for reassessment must be filed not later than 31st of August 2016
An overhaul of NSW’s Victim Compensation Scheme has left many victims of crime out in the cold. You may have applied for compensation under the previous Victims Compensation Scheme, only to find that you are eligible for a far lower payment under the revised scheme.
Fortunately, a victim-led campaign for justice has prompted the NSW Government to announce that it will reassess claims that have been affected by this transition.
“If your case has fallen through the cracks in the transition to the new Victims Support Scheme, we may be able to help you with a victims compensation reassessment”
How did this happen?
A 2013 review of the NSW Victims Compensation Scheme found that victims’ needs were not being met in a timely fashion, and that the scheme was too costly for the government to fund in the long-term.
In May 2013, a new scheme was introduced, the Victims Support Scheme, that promised to provide victims with support more quickly. But there was a catch – the payments would be much lower than under the previous scheme.
The new scheme was applied retrospectively – meaning thousands of existing applications would be brought under the new scheme, as ‘transitional’ applications. The problem with this approach was that victims who had applied under the previous scheme, were now being offered significantly less compensation.
One case that caught the media’s attention was that of Katrina Keshishian. Katrina, a survivor of a gang rape in 2008, had waited six years for her application to be assessed. During that time the law had changed, and so had her payment. She had been expecting compensation of $50,000, but under the new scheme, Katrina was eligible for just $15,000.
“It is estimated that up to 24,000 victims have had their claims affected by the transition to the new scheme”
Other victims stepped forward to tell similar stories, and a change.org petition attracted 130,000 signatures.
This prompted NSW Premier Mike Baird to announce that victims of crime who had been affected by this change would be eligible to have their claims re-assessed.