Compensation for victims of crime
You may be able to get compensation if you have been injured or experienced financial loss from the injury, as the result of a crime committed in Western Australia (such as from an assault, robbery, family violence or sexual offence).
There are various ways you can apply to be compensated: you might seek criminal injuries compensation, take legal action against the offender, or ask the court to make an order at the time of sentencing for the criminal offence committed against you.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is designed to provide compensation if you suffered physical harm, mental or nervous shock, or pregnancy from an offence committed in Western Australia.
- some of the options for compensation if you have been injured as the result of a crime
- who can apply for Criminal Injuries Compensation and what it covers, and
- some of the situations where you should get legal advice.
I have been injured as the result of a crime. What are my options for compensation?
If you have been injured (or suffered loss flowing from the injury) because of a criminal offence you may be able to:
- make a compensation claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA).
- bring a common law claim against the offender.
- ask the court sentencing the offender to make an order for compensation or restitution.
If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse while in the care of a State or Commonwealth institution you may be able to apply for assistance from the National Redress Scheme. Some non-government institutions (such as churches and charities) also joined this Scheme.
What is Criminal Injuries Compensation?
Victims of crime who have suffered an injury can apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA).
A close relative of a person killed as a result of an offence may also be able to claim compensation for some of the financial loss caused by the person's death. Close relatives include a spouse, de facto partner, parent, grandparent, step-parent, child, step-child, or grandchild.
What does the compensation cover?
Compensation may cover:
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of income
- medical or psychological expenses including the costs of reports and treatment, and
- other incidental expenses (such as travel for medical treatment and loss/damage of clothing, footwear or aids).
In the case of death, a close relative may be eligible for compensation to cover funeral expenses and the loss of financial support.
Do I need legal advice?
Many claims for compensation are complex and time limits apply. You should get legal advice if:
- the offence has not been reported to the police
- the offender was acquitted of the offence
- the offender was not charged
- the victim is a child
- you were injured as a child
- you have suffered long term sexual abuse
- you are unsure of your injuries or loss
- it has been more than three years since the offence happened
- you wish to make a claim for mental or psychological injury
- you wish to make a claim as a close relative of a person killed as a result of the offence
- you wish to make a claim for future loss of earnings
- a hearing has been arranged
- you are not satisfied with the amount of compensation you received and wish to appeal, or
- you received a query from the Australian Taxation Office about payment of tax on an award.
Our Civil Law Division may be able to provide advice about making a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation.
If you need help responding to an application for Criminal Injuries Compensation, or appealing a decision by the Assessor, please call the Infoline.
If you receive a grant of aid to apply for compensation, Legal Aid WA will only ask you to make a contribution to cover your legal costs if your application for compensation is successful.
Your local community legal centre or Family Violence Prevention Legal Service (FVPLS) may also be able to provide advice and assistance with Criminal Injuries Compensation applications. FVPLS also offer counselling services for First Nations people who are victims family violence or sexual assaults.
Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation
Information about online applications, guides for applying and the process after applying.
Commissioner for Victims of Crime
The Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime’s website has information about victim-related services. You can call the Office on (08) 9264 9877 and also access publications online.
- Court Counselling and Support Services- Department of Justice
Information on a range of services which offer advocacy and support for victims of crime.
- District Court of WA - Criminal Injuries Compensation Information, forms and a procedure guide if you are representing yourself in an appeal against a decision of the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation.
Reviewed: 12 October 2022