Helping Women and Children break the cycle of domestic violence...

VICTIMS SERVICES

Being a victim of crime can be a very difficult experience.

It’s important to remember that being a victim of a crime, which includes many forms of domestic violence, doesn’t mean you are powerless.

Not only can you do many things to pick your life up and change it, but you can call on the law, the police and a wealth of support services to protect and support you.

Victims Services can help you in 3 key areas:

  • Referral and support
  • Counselling
  • Compensation

24-Hour

Victims Access Line
1800 633 063
(02) 8688 5511 (Sydney)
Confidential support, referral and information
Emergency support and referral

 Aboriginal Contact Line
1800 019 123
- Office hours only-
Confidential enquiry line for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
who are victims of crime

Victims Services are a part of the NSW Department of Justice and Attorney General. They provide support for victims of crime with the criminal justice system, including the information available by contacting the Victims Access Line (VAL) - see above.

Referral and support
You can call the Victims Access Line for information about

  • your rights as a victim of crime,
  • how to access counselling and compensation and
  • assistance with completing victim impact statements (applications for counselling and compensation)
    • The support officers on the other end of the phone offer confidential emotional support and crisis counselling.  They can also help to indentify your needs, and provide referrals to other services that can help you. Victims Services understands that you may be feeling particularly vulnerable and emotional.

      Counselling for Victims of Crime
      Becoming a victim of crime can be a distressing life event. Counselling can really help.  It can help to know that what you are feeling may be normal reactions. Many of these reactions will fade over a period of weeks, although some might last longer.

      The Victims Services Approved Counselling Scheme provides FREE counselling to victims of crime. Specialist counselling is also available for children and the disabled. Their counsellors have proven experience in working with victims of crime, and are qualified psychologists, social workers or psychiatrists in private practice.

      Many of us have grown up without support from counsellors. We may be used to dealing with our internal thoughts and emotions ourselves. However, if you are a victim of crime, you may be trying to cope with very powerful and disabling thoughts and feelings and professional counselling can really help you get through this difficult time.

      Normal reactions to a crime can include a range of reactions such as anxiety, fear, nightmares and problems relating to others. You may have a delayed reaction, with distressing emotions and thoughts surfacing even years later. Reactions can include:

      • being tense or jumpy
      • difficulty sleeping
      • nightmares
      • constant tiredness
      • poor coordination
      • loss of appetite
      • feelings of “going crazy”
      • sadness, grief or loss
      • anger or irritability
      • guilty feelings
      • poor attention span
      • difficulty making decisions
      • confusion
      • slowed thinking
      • forgetful of the details of ordinary daily life
        • You may also

          • avoid people or places that remind you of the event
          • start using alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings, and
          • stay busy to block out thoughts of the crime.
            • These are all normal reactions to being a victim of crime. Many of these reactions will fade over a period of weeks, although some might last longer.

              There are ways to help yourself cope with the effects of crime.

              • Allow yourself to feel your emotions. By feeling emotions we release them and let them go.
              • Allow yourself to feel the pain and let it go. You don’t have to be strong and tough all the time.
              • Keep notes on your progress. Journalling can be of great help.
              • Make daily decisions to regain a feeling of control - see Affirmations and Intentions
              • Spend time with others, but allow yourself time out for yourself to rest and recover. Be gentle with yourself.
              • Re-establish your normal schedule as soon as possible, but try to schedule extra rest and time out.
              • Be kind to yourself. Try to rest, sleep, exercise and eat regularly and well.
              • Don’t blame yourself for what happened – it wasn’t your fault.
              • Don’t bottle up your emotions – find someone you can talk to.
              • Don’t make life-changing decisions until you’re feeling better. You may not be thinking clearly.
              • Undertake daily tasks with care until your stress reduces. You may be quite foggy and not thinking clearly.
                • Counsellors will:

                  • hear your story – what happened, how you feel, how it affects your day-to-day life. They will listen to you carefully and respect your point of view, allowing you to tell your story at your own pace,
                  • they will suggest ways to manage your problems and feelings,
                  • offer suggestions and referrals to other support that may help, and
                  • explain the Victims Services Approved Counselling Scheme to you.
                    • Victims Compensation
                      If you have been injured (and this includes psychological or psychiatric disorders) as a result of an act of violence, such as an assault, robbery, domestic violence or sexual assault, you may be eligible for compensation.

                      What incidents of domestic violence may result in eligibility for compensation?
                      “Incidents of domestic violence, which may result in eligibility for victims compensation and counselling, include violent criminal acts that cause injury, such as an assault, sexual assault, intimidation or harassment...You can also claim the compensable injury of Domestic Violence if you were injured as a result of intimidation or stalking in apparent contravention of an apprehended violence order. “ www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au

                      Compensation is available for injuries, psychological disorders and reimbursement of expenses, such as medical, dental, loss of earnings and loss of personal effects worn or carried as a result of the incident. Compensation is also available for injured witnesses of acts of violence, for example your child may have an ongoing psychological disorder from witnessing domestic violence.

                      Urgent Interim Payments are usually made because the applicant is in 'severe financial hardship or cannot afford important treatments. Your application for an interim payment must include proof which can be as simple as an affidavit (a signed and witnessed statement) setting out your assets, income and expenditure, along with any other documents you may have about your financial situation such as Centrelink Statements, bank statements and so on.

                      It’s important to keep receipts for any medical and other expenses you may incur as these may also be reimbursed.

                      You can ring the Victims Access Line for more information. You can also view a schedule of injuries and payment amounts on their website – see the links below. A maximum of $50,000 compensation is available.

                      Victims Services realises that re-telling your story can be a harrowing process.  They try to make it as easy as possible for you. You don’t need to go to court or face the person who hurt you at any time in this process. The form can be filled out online, at home, or with your counsellor. Usually the rest of the compensation process is dealt with without further involvement from you. Victims Services will chase up police and court records, for instance.

                      You can complete and send your application for compensation and counselling using an online form, or you download and print the form. For links to the forms and other information, see below.
                       
                      More Information

                      General Informaton:

                      Counselling and Support:

                      Compensation:

                      Guide to completing Impact Statement (Application for Counselling and Compensation)

                      For Aboriginals:

                      Many of the above publications are available in other languages. Click on the link below and follow the links to see information in these languages.

                      Application for Counselling, Compensation and Expenses (Print Form)

                      Application for Counselling, Compensation and Expenses (Complete Online)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

24-HR HOTLINE
1800 656 463

If you need an interpreter call TTY
1800 671 442

If anyone is in physical danger or about to be harmed, call the POLICE on 000 immediately!

http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/victimsservices/ll_vs.nsf/vwFiles/FS23_ATSI_FamViolence.pdf/$file/FS23_ATSI_FamViolence.pdf

http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/victimsservices/ll_vs.nsf/pages/VS_publications

http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/victimsservices/ll_vs.nsf/pages/VS_forms#compcounvasform

https://vs.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/VS_Comp.pdf