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​FAQs – Victims Reassessment Scheme

    Victims with transitional claims

    1. Who can I call for help and advice about the Government's commitment to reassess transitional claims?

    Please call the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 for any questions relating to the reassessment of a transitional claim. This number will allow those affected by this process to contact the Victims Services Reassessment Team, who will be responsible for processing eligible claims.

    This team is also available via email: vsrp@justice.nsw.gov.au

    Background

    2. Why are some claims being reassessed?

    In 2013 the NSW Government replaced the old Victims Compensation Scheme with the Victims Support Scheme. The change ensured victims of crime would have quicker access to holistic support and services including counselling services and support payments to cover the costs incurred as a result of an act of violence, such as medical expenses.

    The Victims Support Scheme is providing positive assistance to victims of crime, with the average time taken to process a claim significantly reduced from that under the old scheme. However the Government has acknowledged that there is a group of victims whose expectations under the old scheme were not met.

    The Government has confirmed that those victims who had lodged an application under the old Victims Compensation Scheme (so before 7 May 2013) but whose application had not been assessed when the Victims Support Scheme commenced could apply to have their applications assessed under the terms of the old scheme.

    Eligibility

    3. Am I eligible to have my claim reassessed?

    You may be eligible for reassessment if you lodged a claim under the old Victims Compensation Scheme before 7 May 2013 and it was not determined before that date. These claims are known as "transitional claims" because they were transitioned to the new Victims Support Scheme.

    Victims Services will write to those eligible to have their claim re-assessed. You can also call the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 or email vsrp@justice.nsw.gov.au for more information.

    4. I withdrew my claim after the new Victims Support Scheme was introduced – can I resubmit it for reassessment?

    Yes. Withdrawn transitional claims may be eligible for reassessment.

    5. Are there any transitional claims that will not be eligible for reassessment?

    Yes. Some transitional claims were dismissed under the transitional provisions of the Victims Support Scheme on the basis that:

    • an assessor determined that an act of violence could not be established;
    • the incident took place outside NSW;
    • the incident was a motor vehicle accident or a dog bite; or
    • there were contributing factors by the victim.

    These transitional claims will not be eligible to be reassessed because they would not be eligible for victims compensation under the old scheme.

    Process for reassessment

    6. Will my transitional claim automatically be reassessed?

    No. You will need to apply to have your transitional claim reassessed. Reassessment is a choice for each eligible victim. The Government recognises some victims may not want to go through the process again.

    7. How do I apply for my transitional claim to be reassessed?

    If you are eligible, you will receive a letter from Victims Services. This letter will explain how you can apply for your claim to be reassessed. You can also call the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 or email vsrp@justice.nsw.gov.au for more information.

    8. When can I apply for reassessment?

    If you are eligible, you can apply for reassessment between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016.

    9. What if I don't receive the letter?

    If you have not received a letter by mid-September, make sure you contact the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 to ensure your details are current on our system –especially if your details have changed since your matter was finalised. You should contact the Victims Support Line to update your details so a letter can be sent to you again if you have not received it.

    10. What paperwork do I need to fill in?

    The application process will be simple. The details of the application process (including the paperwork required to be completed) will be outlined in the letter sent to you by Victims Services. You can also call the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 or email vsrp@justice.nsw.gov.au for more information.

    If you are eligible for a reassessment, you will be given the opportunity to nominate injuries against the old Schedule of Injuries, or you can keep the injuries you nominated with your original application.

    11. What evidence do I need to submit?

    You will have six months from the date of your application to provide further evidence for your file. If you are seeking compensation for a psychological disorder, you may be required to obtain a report from an Authorised Report Writer.

    Please see the Victims Services website for information on what you may need to provide for your file; or call the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 to speak to a Victims Services staff member. Or you can email the Victims Support Reassessment Team at vsrp@justice.nsw.gov.au

    12. What is an Authorised Report Writer (ARW)?

    An Authorised Report Writer (ARW) is an approved clinical psychologist/psychiatrist who can provide medico-legal reports for applicants claiming a psychological disorder.

    13. How quickly will my claim be assessed?

    All applications for reassessment of eligible transitional claims will be determined as quickly as possible. The time taken to reassess your transitional claim will depend on how long it takes for you to submit further evidence (if necessary) and the volume of claims in general.

    14. Will I be able to use a lawyer?

    Yes. However, solicitor costs will not be covered by the reassessment scheme.

    The Victims Services Reassessment Team will be able to assist victims in preparing their file for reassessment.

    Amount to be awarded on reassessment

    16. Will I automatically receive more money if my claim is reassessed?

    No. The amount you may be awarded on reassessment will depend on the decision made by an assessor. This decision will be made under the terms of the old scheme in relation to your individual claim (based on the nature of your injuries and the evidence you provide).

    It is possible you were awarded more money on assessment under the transitional provisions of the Victims Services Scheme than you would be on assessment under the old scheme. If this is the case, you will not be required to pay back any amount you have already received.

    17. How much money will I receive if my matter is reassessed?

    The amount you may be awarded on reassessment will depend on the decision made by an assessor in relation to your individual claim (based on the nature of your injuries and the evidence you provide).

    In some cases you may not be eligible for any further payment.

    If you are awarded victims compensation on reassessment, you will receive the amount of that award which exceeds any victim support payment you have already been awarded.

    For example, if you are reassessed and are awarded $15,000, but you have already received $10,000 under the transitional provisions, you will receive the difference between those awards, being $5,000.

    18. If I received more money under the transitional provisions of the new Victims Support Scheme than I would have received under the old scheme, will I have to pay the extra money back?

    No. If you apply for your claim to be reassessed and an assessor decides you would receive less victims compensation under the terms of the old scheme, you will not be required to pay any money back.

    For example, if you received $10,000 under the transitional provisions of the Victims Support Scheme and, on reassessment under the terms of the old scheme, your injuries amount to $2,400 (which is below the $7,500 threshold for the old compensation scheme), you do not need to repay any amount back.

    When you apply for reassessment, you will be notified of the possibility that you may receive less money if your transitional claim is assessed under the old scheme.

    Other questions

    19. What if I'm unhappy with the reassessment?

    You may ask for the decision to be internally reviewed by the Commissioner of Victims Rights.

    20. What happens to my claim if I do not apply for reassessment?

    If you do not apply for reassessment, the existing determination on your file will stand.

    21. Can I still access counselling?

    Yes. The Approved Counselling Service will continue and if you have already had counselling approved nothing will change. If you would like to apply for counselling please contact the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031.

    22. How is this different from the way my transitional claim was determined under the Victims Support Scheme?

    Under the transitional provisions of the new Victims Support Scheme, transitional claimants were eligible for a recognition payment in relation to an offence type and, if applicable, a special grant of $5,000 in lieu of financial expenses.

    On reassessment, eligible claimants will be able to nominate compensable injuries (including psychological disorder) and the amount of compensation will be determined according to the Schedule of Injuries that applied under the old scheme. No special grant of $5,000 will be available on reassessment.

    Counselling is available under both the transitional provisions of the Victims Support Scheme and under this reassessment scheme.

    Victims with claims under the Victims Support Scheme

    ​​Am I affected by the reassessment of transitional claims?

    ​If you lodged your claim for victims support after 7 May 2013, you should not be affected by the reassessment of the transitional matters.

    However, some applicants who have a current claim under the Victims Support Scheme may have withdrawn their transitional claim and re-lodged it. If this happened with your claim, you should call Victims Services for more information.

    Who can I call for help and advice? 

    The Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600.

    If I have a claim under the Victims Support Scheme, can I withdraw and re-lodge my claim to be reassessed under the old scheme instead?

    No. If you lodged a claim on or after 7 May 2013 you are not eligible for your claim to be reassessed under the old scheme.

    The reassessment scheme does not allow for the lodging of new compensation applications, it is only for those who already had a lodged application that was not determined before 7 May 2013.

    If I was a victim of crime prior to the introduction of the Victims Support Scheme, but never lodged an application, can I lodge one now for assessment under the old scheme?

    No. If the act of violence occurred before 7 May 2013, but you did not submit an application for victims compensation under the old scheme before 7 May 2013, you will not be able to lodge a claim to be reassessed under the old scheme now.

    If you have not lodged an application yet and you are a victim of crime, you may be able to lodge under the Victims Support Scheme. Please contact the Victims Support Line on (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 or email at vsrp@justice.nsw.gov.au for more information on how to do this.

    What support do victims receive under the Victims Support Scheme?

    Under the Victims Support Scheme, victims are eligible for:
    • extensive counselling;
    • a package of support up to $5000, tailored to address their urgent needs;
    • up to $8000 to cover funeral expenses of homicide victims;
    • longer term financial support of up to $30,000; and
    • a recognition payment to acknowledge trauma.