News and announcements

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    Victims Services a joint winner in 2017 Premier's Awards for Public Service

    From L to R: Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian, Commissioner of Victims Rights Mahashini Krishna, Manager of the WDVCAP, Legal Aid NSW Michelle Jones, Director of Women NSW Melinda Norton and Senior Programs Officer, Domestic and Family Violence Team, Robyn Auld. Photo: NSW Premier's Awards

    On Wednesday 1 November, Victims Services, in partnership with Legal Aid NSW, NSW Police Force and Women NSW, won the 2017 Premier's Award for Public Service in the category of Reducing Domestic Violence for the It Stops Here: Safer Pathway domestic violence reforms.

    Safer Pathway is a coordinated, interagency response to supporting domestic violence victims, including consistent threat assessment, streamlined service provision, and priority responses to victims at serious threat of injury or death.

    In September 2017, Safer Pathway commenced in seven new sites - Penrith, Liverpool, Illawarra, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Dubbo and Albury. Safer Pathway now operates in 34 locations across NSW. Further sites will commence in March 2018, including Burwood, Sutherland, Goulburn and Gosford.

    Transfer of Restitution Debts to Revenue NSW

    On 1 May 2017 Victims Services commenced transferring debts to Revenue NSW, formerly the Office of State Revenue (OSR). This followed from 8 March 2017 when legislative amendments were passed under the Fines Amendment Bill 2017 to enable unpaid restitution debt orders to be transferred to Revenue NSW to be imposed as fines for collection by Revenue NSW.  Defendants under current payment arrangements will need to ensure they maintain their payments up to date.  Should a debtor default or fall into arrears on their repayments, the debt may be transferred to Revenue NSW after the expiration of 28 days of a default notice being issued to the debtor.

    Once the debt has been transferred to Revenue NSW, enforcement action will commence which can include:

    • Cancelling or suspending of your driver's licence or your vehicle registration
    • Deducting money from your bank account or wages
    • Authorising the Sheriff to seize your goods or property
    • Placing a charge on any land or property you own
    • Further costs associated with enforcement action will also be added

    New VAB members announced

    Eleven members have been appointed to the Victims Advisory Board which will ensure victims have a strong voice, NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced.

    Ms Upton said the Victims Advisory Board plays a vital role advising the NSW Government on ways it can better support the victims of crime and their families.

    “Half the Board is made up of representatives from victims’ advocacy groups who intimately understand the struggles victims of crime and their families face,” Ms Upton said.

    “The advice and counsel of the Board will help shape services to ensure they are giving victims the right kinds of support when they need it. I look forward to working closely with the Board over the coming months.”

    The Victims Advisory Board was established in 1996 and will be chaired by the Commissioner of Victims Rights Mahashini Krishna.

    It consists of 11 members including representatives from NSW Police, NSW Justice, NSW Health, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid.

    The six community representatives members are:

    • Howard Brown – Vice President of the Victims of Crime Assistance League;
    • Ken Marslew – Chief Executive Officer of Enough is Enough Anti-Violence Movement;
    • Annie Cossins – Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of NSW;
    • Belinda Nolan – Principal and Director of Pinnacle Integrity and a former Detective Superintendent of NSW Police;
    • Karen Willis – Executive Officer of Rape & Domestic Violence Services; and
    • Susan Smith - Solicitor and Coordinator, Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, Redfern Legal Centre.

    The new Board will meet for the first time in early December 2015.

    Members are appointed for three years and will be eligible for re-appointment after this period.

    Reassessment of Victims Compensation Claims

    The NSW Government has announced that from 1 September 2015 victims who were in the transition between the old Victims Compensation Scheme and the Victims Support Scheme can have their claim reassessed.

    The Victims Rights and Support Amendment (Transitional Claims) Regulation 2015 was published on 21 August and will commence on 1 September 2015.

    The Victims Rights and Support Amendment (Transitional Claims) Regulation 2015 (webpage)

    Media release (PDF 191Kb)

    All eligible victims will receive correspondence from Victims Services, which will provide information about the application process and what you will need to do.

    Fact sheet (PDF 52Kb)
    Frequently asked questions (PDF 96Kb)
    Application for reassessment (PDF 513Kb)

    Further information
    Victims Support Line: (02) 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031
    Fax; (02) 8688 9636

    Four more locations for Safer Pathway helping victims of domestic violence

    Victims of family and domestic violence will now have the benefit of the Safer Pathway Program in Bankstown, Broken Hill, Parramatta and Tweed Heads.

    Safer Pathway was launched in Orange and Waverly in September last year, as part of the NSW Government's 'It Stops Here' domestic and family violence reforms. The Program better identifies the level of threat to victims, tailors response to specific need and ensures a coordinated multi-agency effort so no one gets lost in the system.

    Safer Pathway provides better support by 'wrapping services around' victims of domestic violence with streamlined referral, standardised threat assessment, case coordination and Safety Action Meetings. It addresses the high levels of underreporting of domestic violence by providing a consistent and proactive response when a victim does reach out or come into contact with service providers.

    How does Safer Pathway work

    • When a police officer attends a domestic violence incident or comes into contact with a person who may be a victim of domestic violence, a Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool is used to identify the level of threat.
    • A person found to be at threat or at serious threat, will be immediately referred to the Central Referral Point that electronically manages and monitors referrals, and then on to a Local Coordination Point.
    • The Local Coordination Point will contact the victim within 24 business hours of receiving the referral and offer case coordination to victims and referrals to local domestic violence specialist and other services. These Local Coordination Points are hosted by the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services for female victims, and by Victims Services NSW for male victims.
    • Victims who are identified to be at serious threat will additionally have their cases referred to Safety Action Meetings to ensure coordinated action to improve their safety. Meetings are held fortnightly and attended by a wide range of government and non-government health, welfare, justice and other service providers, who develop and implement individually tailored Safety Action Plans to prevent or reduce the serious threat to victims.