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Attorney-General and Justice - Victims of Crime Compensation

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: Crime, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Moving back to something I asked you about last year, the processes and the funding available for victims of crime. You recognised that it's some time since the act has been reviewed. You said it would be timely to look at the act and that you would do that. You also said in response to questions I had about the deficient processes and support and communication that I reported to you resulting from the Victims of Crime Unit and work that was done with victims that you would review the processes in relation to skills and training and resources. Can you give an update on what has happened in that area, please?

Ms ARCHER - The department has been undertaking work to carry out a review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Regulations, including consideration of compensation amounts and what options might be available. The broad-ranging issues that you've mentioned need to be looked at as well.

I am not making excuses and we would like to address that as quickly as possible but we have a number of projects on the go - ongoing law reform and COVID issues. We have dedicated victim support services within our Department of Justice which continues to support the needs of victims of crime in the community through the Victims of Crime Assistance, the Eligible Person's Register, Victims Of Crime Service, and Court Support and Liaison Service.

We have those four established areas. Dr Woodruff, you used an example which prompted you to say the systems may be lacking in some areas. I'm confident that in most areas we provide a very good service but the specific example you used, I'm going on memory, was the family of a victim and so whether or not we -

Dr WOODRUFF - I showed you that picture which just showed the number of people that were affected -

Ms ARCHER - Exactly.

Dr WOODRUFF - the $50 000 maximum amount and the way it can be distributed among whom and where on that circle. Just because you're an emergency responder who is only at a scene for two hours doesn't mean that you've not had dramatic impact. It also means somebody who is an uncle of a person is also profoundly -

Ms ARCHER - I'm aware of that issue and -

Dr WOODRUFF - There is ongoing -

Ms ARCHER - That's the matter -

Dr WOODRUFF - Very complex.

Ms ARCHER - That's -

Ms Ogilvie - Are you able to table that?

Dr WOODRUFF - I did that last year.

Ms ARCHER - No, no, no, and that's fine.

Dr WOODRUFF - I just couldn't see -

Ms ARCHER - Work is being undertaken by the department. When we do a full review of things we're taking into account all of the factors that need to be looked at, that includes the compensation and the compensation cap amount and the impact that that will have on the overall budget of that output. All that work is being done.

Dr WOODRUFF - When will that be completed because that's where you were last year.

Ms ARCHER - No, it wasn't where we were at last year. It was -

Dr WOODRUFF - You were going to start it.

Ms ARCHER - Yes, yes.

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes. Where is it?

Ms WEBSTER - We are currently preparing some advice for the Attorney-General on what might need to be amended or might need to be reviewed. I would be confident that that advice will be going to the Attorney-General in the next couple of months.