New South Wales’ victims of crime who were caught out in a transition between the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 (NSW) (Old Scheme) and the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013(NSW) (New Scheme), can now have their claims reassessed as of 1 September 2015.
The 2 August 2015 announcement by the NSW Attorney General, Gabrielle Upton, has been openly welcomed by the state’s victims of crime, who were caught out in this transition and were subsequently subject to the lower paying New Scheme.
Eligible victims of crime who will be able to have their claims reassessed are due to receive written notification from the Department of Justice noting their opportunity for reassessment. Applications to have the claim reassessed must be lodged no later than 1 September 2016 (the deadline).
The Victims Rights and Support Amendment (Transitional Claims) Regulation 2015 (NSW) states that an individual who applied for statutory compensation under the Old Scheme, and whose application was not finally determined before the introduction of the Bill for the New Scheme into Parliament, will be able to have their claims for victims compensation reassessed as per the formula specified under the Old Scheme.
Ms Upton has assured that if a reassessed determination is greater than what the victim was initially awarded under the Old Scheme (the final determination), the individual will receive a difference between the initial and final determination. If the reassessed determination is less, victims will not have to pay any money back and therefore no eligible applicant is expected to be worse off after their claim is reassessed based on merit.
The NSW Government has further reiterated that the New Scheme has resulted in faster and easier access for victims of crime, with payments now being received within an average of a month rather than 31 months as per the Old Scheme.