Criminal Injuries Compensation
This information contains a summary of the law and is correct at the date of publication. It is not legal advice. You should always seek legal advice about your individual situation.
What is Criminal Injuries Compensation?
If you have been a victim of an offence and the offence has resulted in injury and/or financial loss, you can apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA).
You can claim compensation where you have suffered:
- Physical and mental injury ;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Damage to personal items;
- Medical and psychological expenses including the cost of reports and treatment;
- Loss of earnings suffered as a consequence of the injury; and
- Funeral expenses for a close relative
Who can claim Criminal Injuries Compensation?
You can claim compensation if you are the victim and you suffer an injury as a result of an offence.
- ‘Indirect’ victim
In some cases, a close relative of the victim can claim compensation. You are a ‘close relative’ if you are:
- A parent, grandparent or step parent of the victim
- The spouse or de facto partner of the victim
- A child, grandchild or step child of the victim.
A close relative can claim compensation if:
- The victim dies.
- If they suffer psychological injury as a result of what happened to the victim.
What is an ‘offence’?
You can claim compensation if your injuries and losses resulted from a ‘proved’ offence and for an ‘alleged’ offence in certain circumstances.
- What is a proved offence?
This means that a person has been convicted of the offence committed against you.
- What is an alleged offence?
This means that there was no conviction for the offence, or that no one was charged with an offence.
You may still be able to claim compensation if there was no conviction or no one was charged if you can show that:
- An offence did occur; and
- You have done everything you should have done to assist the police in identifying, finding and prosecuting the offender.
Claiming compensation for an alleged offence raises complex legal issues. You should seek legal advice before claiming for an alleged offence.
Do I need to report the offence to the police?
Yes. It is very important that you report the offence to the police and that you did everything you should have done to assist police in identifying, finding and prosecuting the offender.
In most circumstances you would not be awarded compensation if you have not reported the offence to police and have not assisted them.
You should seek legal advice if you want to claim compensation but did not report the offence.
What can you claim?
You can claim for injury and loss suffered as a result of the offence.
- What counts as ‘injury’?
‘Injury’ means physical and mental harm, or pregnancy resulting from the offence. If the injury is mental harm, it has to be severe enough to be a recognised psychiatric problem such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or panic attacks.
- What counts as ‘loss’
‘Loss’ means any expenses you actually and reasonably had to pay because of your injury. This can include:
- Out of pocket medical expenses such as ambulance, doctor appointments, dental, counselling, medications and surgery.
- Travel costs to medical appointments.
- Cost of getting reports from health professionals to support your claim for compensation.
- Costs that you are likely to incur for treatment of your injuries in future. The cost of future treatment would be included in the report from your health professional.
- Lost income
How much compensation can I get?
The maximum possible amount that you can be awarded is $75,000 for a single offence and $150,000 if one offender committed multiple offences against you.
The amount will depend on the extent of your injuries and the losses that you suffered.
If the offence occurred before 1 January 2004, the maximum amount of compensation is different.
The Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation website provides information on the maximum amount of compensation is the offence occurred before 1 January 2004.
You must make your claim within 3 years from:
- The date of the offence; or
- The date of the last offence if there have been multiple offences committed by the same offender.
The Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation (OCIC) can extend the time limitation period if you have a good reason or good reasons for not making the claim within the time limit.
If you think that you have a claim, but are outside the time limit, you should seek legal advice.
Circumstances which may affect your claim
Your eligibility for compensation will be affected if:
- you have not reported the offence to the police within a reasonable time (unless you can demonstrate the delay was reasonable).
- you failed to help police in their inquiries regarding the arrest or prosecution of the offender unless the failure to do so was reasonable.
- you have claimed for injuries, expenses or losses from another source (for example, injuries covered by third party compensation, medical expenses recovered from Medicare or loss of income recovered under workers compensation).
- the injury arose from a motor vehicle crash.
- you are not the primary victim of the offence.
- the offender may benefit from the award, for example, if you are living with, or in a relationship with, the offender.
- You contributed to your own injury, for example, if you were in a fight and you provoked the offender.
- The Assessor is not satisfied that your injury and/or loss were caused by the offence.
You should seek legal advice if you think any of the above applies to you.
If you would like some legal advice specific to your circumstances, please make an appointment at the Fremantle Community Legal Centre on 08 9432 9790.
We are located at:
Level 1 Suite 31
35 William Street
Telephone: 08 9432 9790 (9.00 am-4.00 pm weekdays)
You might also find the following services useful:
Legal Aid WA
Telephone: 1300 650 579 open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4pm pm except public holidays.
Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation
Level 10, Golden Square
32 St George’s Terrace
PERTH WA 6000
Telephone: 08 9425 3250 (9:00am to 4:00pm weekdays)