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What is restitution?

When a victim of a crime that occurs in NSW receives financial support under the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (VRS Act 2013), the Commissioner of Victims Rights can recover money from any person who has been convicted of the criminal offence that relates to the victim's claim. This is called restitution.

 An Order for Restitution may be issued to a person who has been convicted of a "relevant offence" as defined by section 58 of the Act.

A 'conviction' includes bonds, fines, community service orders, imprisonment and other penalties. It also includes an order made under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

The Order for Restitution

An Order for Restitution can be made up to two years after a conviction or up to seven years after a victim claims financial support.

The Order for Restitution sets out:

  • the name of the victim
  • the amount and date of the victims support payment
  • relevant conviction details relating to the defendant/defendants

What are my options if I receive an Order for Restitution?

  1. Pay the full amount of the Order. Payment details are included in the documentation.
  2. Lodge a written objection: The Commissioner will then consider submissions and documentation from you before deciding how much restitution is payable by way of lump sum. 
  3. Apply to enter into a time to pay arrangement with Revenue NSW for the full amount of the debt. The arrangement will outline:
    • the amount of restitution you will pay; and
    • how you will make the repayments.

What if I do not respond?

If you do not respond, the Order for Restitution is automatically confirmed 28 days from the date of issue for the full amount, payable immediately. This amount can then be transferred to Revenue NSW (RNSW) as a debt.

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

  • cancelling or suspending 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

Legal Advice

If you need legal advice or assistance regarding this Order for Restitution, LawAccess NSW provides a free legal information, referral and advice service to people who live in New South Wales or have a New South Wales legal problem.  You may contact LawAccess NSW by phoning 1300 888 529 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.  

If your first language is not English, you may ring 131 450 and ask an interpreter to contact LawAccess NSW on your behalf.


I have already served my sentence for this offence through the criminal proceedings, why do I have to pay this Order for Restitution? 

The restitution process is a civil legal process and is separate from the criminal proceedings

I did not receive a conviction in court; the matter was dismissed with a caution.  

For the purposes of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013, a 'conviction' includes an order made under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.  Similarly, the juvenile equivalents under section 33 (other than section 33(1) (a)) of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 are a 'conviction'.

Why do I have to pay restitution if I have paid the Victims Support Levy?

The Victims Support Levy (formerly Victims Compensation Levy or VCL) is an amount levied on people who are found guilty of offences in NSW Courts.  Payment of the levy is made to a court and is separate from restitution recovery. 

Why wasn't I told when the victim lodged the application?

Victims support payments can be made before any person is charged with a crime.

Restitution orders can only be made when someone has been convicted of the offence that resulted in victims support payments being made.

Can I convert the restitution order into warrants or a community service order or spend time in gaol?

No - Victims Services is not authorised to impose penalties.

Can I enter into a payment arrangement to pay by instalments the amount of the Order for Restitution?

If you agree to an Order for Restitution, it can be referred to Revenue NSW for you to negotiate a time to pay arrangement.  

I am bankrupt - what are my options?

If you wish to inquire about bankruptcy or are unsure about your status, you should contact an office of the Australian Financial Security Authority (previously known as Insolvency Trustee Service of Australia (ITSA) or a legal practitioner.