Justice Home > Victims Services and Support

S.65 Guidelines - Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Guidelines pursuant to Section 65, Victims Compensation Act 1996
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

An applicant for statutory compensation must establish an act of violence (sections 6, 7 and 8).

Section 5 defines an act of violence as an act or series of related acts whether committed by one or more persons:

(a) that has apparently occurred in the course of the commission of an offence; and

(b) that has involved violent conduct against one or more persons, and that has resulted in injury or death to one or more of those persons.

A primary victim or secondary victim must therefore establish that he/she has sustained an "injury".

Injury is now defined (following the 1998 amendments with effect from 7 April 1999) as (a) actual physical bodily harm; (b) psychological or psychiatric disorder.

The 1998 amendments deleted "shock" from the table of compensable injuries and inserted in lieu psychological or psychiatric disorder and divided that into two categories depending on whether the disorder was a moderately or severely disabling one. Where this compensable injury is claimed the report must be provided by an authorised report writer (clause 5 of Schedule 1).

The position with sexual assault and domestic violence victims claiming as primary victims is as follows:

If an applicant is claiming a category 1 or category 2 psychological or psychiatric disorder the report must be provided by an authorised report writer.

If an applicant is claiming under the offence category of sexual assault or domestic violence, there must be evidence of injury that is either an actual physical injury or a psychological or psychiatric disorder. The report establishing that disorder need not be prepared by an authorised report writer but must be prepared by a person qualified to make that diagnosis.

If an applicant suffers a physical injury which may be minor, but must be more than transient or trifling (R .v. Donovan 1934, 2 KB 498 at 509)) an award may be made under the offence category.

If an applicant suffered no actual physical injury but has an injury of a psychological or psychiatric disorder (properly diagnosed) then again an award may be made under the offence category.

It is only where the new compensable injury category 1 or 2 psychological or psychiatric disorder is being claimed that the report needs to be provided by an authorised report writer.

Chairperson
12 August 1999.