Statutory review of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW) Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
The NSW Department of Justice is currently conducting a statutory review of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW).
The legislation, which drastically cut payments to victims of crime, has been widely criticised since its introduction in 2013, with Community Legal Centres NSW filing an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, seeking intervention against the legislation.
Drawing on the casework of our Homeless Persons’ Legal Service, PIAC identified that victims of domestic violence are disadvantaged by the way that the Act defines ‘acts of violence’. Under the Act an individual, who has endured a number of violent acts from their partner over a period of time will receive approximately the same recognition payment as an individual who endured one act of violence. In PIAC’s experience, this is usually $1,500.
In our submission, we recommended that:
- the amounts available for recognition payments should be increased;
- additional discretionary amounts should be available in special circumstances;
- all acts of violence, whether multiple or not, should be recognised, and that provisions regarding ‘related acts’ be removed;
- the review should consider how any requirement for ‘documentary evidence’ in proving a claim, could more appropriately support and reflect the lived experience of victims of domestic violence;
- the proposals put forward by the Australian Law Reform Commission in relation to victims’ compensation in its 2010 report Family Violence Improving Legal Frameworks, should be implemented by the current review;
- decision-makers should be given discretionary powers to consider applications that are out of time.