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Who can claim compensation?

Who can claim compensation depends on the type of compensation being sought. Below is a summary of the different types of claims and to whom they apply.

Claim for injury

Only a person who is an “immediate victim” of an offence can claim compensation for injury caused by the offence [Victims of Crime Act 2001 (SA) s 17(1)].

In addition the offence must meet one of the following criteria:

  • It involved the use of violence (or threat of violence) against the person or a member of their immediate family; or
  • Created a reasonable fear of imminent harm to the person or a member of their immediate family; or
  • Was a sexual offence; or
  • Caused death or physical injury.

An “immediate victim” of an offence includes:

  • A person who suffers physical injury as a result of the offence;
  • A person who suffers psychological injury as a result of the direct circumstances of the offence or from operations in the immediate aftermath;
  • A parent or guardian of a child if the offence was committed against a child;
  • A member of the immediate family of the deceased where a victim dies as a result of the offence.

Common offences that can cause injury include assault, robbery, and home invasion, but a claim can arise from any offence. For example, an offence under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 (SA) when a dog is not properly controlled and attacks a person is included. It also includes the situation where the injured person was not the subject of the attack - for instance, a person shocked by witnessing an offence may claim for mental injury.

One incident of injury normally gives rise to one claim, even if there were several offenders involved, or if several offences were committed on the same occasion.

Even if an alleged offender cannot be found or prosecuted, or is acquitted because they are under 10 years of age (the age at which people can be legally responsible for crimes) or because of mental impairment, a claim can still be made.

Claim for grief

A spouse or domestic partner of a homicide victim can claim compensation for grief as can a child of the victim (if they were aged under 18 at the time the offence was committed) [ss 17(2)(a)-(ab)]. In instances where the deceased victim was a child, a parent can claim compensation [s 17(2)(b)].

Claim for financial loss

A claim for financial loss can be made on behalf of dependants of a deceased victim if the victim died as a result of an injury caused by the offence. However, a claim cannot be made if a previous order for statutory compensation has been made for the injury.

Claim for funeral expenses

If a victim has died as a consequence of an offence and a person has paid, or is responsible for payment of, the victim’s funeral expenses they are eligible to claim compensation for these expenses.

Children and young people

A child, like any other victim of crime, can apply for compensation for injury caused by a criminal offence. Child victims have until three years after the date of their 18th birthday to lodge a claim, however, they do not need to wait until adulthood to bring a claim.

For further information about time limits and procedure see Making the claim.

Who can claim compensation?  :  Last Revised: Thu May 5th 2016
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.