VICTIMS OF CRIME
A victim of crime is the person who was hurt physically or emotionally because a crime, or their family was hurt or died because of the crime.Being a victim of any crime can have a serious impact a person’s life so it’s important to recognise when you or someone you know has been a victim and what you can do about it. This page explains who is a victim of crime and what you can do about it.
You don’t have to be physically injured to be a victim of crime. A victim of crime can include someone who:
- has been hurt (physically emotionally financially or psychologically) because of a crime committed against them
- has been hurt after helping a person who has died or suffered harm because a crime was committed against that person
- is a family member or dependent on someone (for example a parent) who has been injured or who has died as a result of a crime.
Examples of crimes where there is a victim include things like physical assault, theft, domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, child abuse and car crashes.
Even though there are many reactions to crime, every individual is unique and everyone’s experience will be different. You may feel the effects of a crime straight away or you might take time to notice what has happened. It’s important to get help to deal with these effects. This will help you recover.
In Queensland, victims of crime have special legal rights. If you are victim, the law says you should be:
- treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for personal dignity; and
- treated in a way that is respectful to your age, gender, ethnicity, cultural and linguistic differences, sexuality, impairment or other special need.
- given help to access services to help you, including legal, health and financial help.
- kept up to date on the progress of police investigations (although police may have to keep some things confidential);
- told if the defendant (the person the police have charged) is released on bail and the conditions of that bail;
- told what the police charge the person with and the date of the court hearing;
- kept up to date on the outcome of the trial – for example if the accused is found guilty or not.
- Have your details kept private (for example your address)
I’m scared that the accused is going to hurt me – what can I do and how can I protect myself?
If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.
If you think that the offender (the person who has committed a crime) will harm you again, you should contact a police officer. You can find your nearest police station here LINK: https://www.police.qld.gov.au/station-locator/station_locator.asp
The police will tell you what you can do and might advise you to get an order to stop the offender from coming near you harming you.
If you are concerned about your safety you can apply for a protection order. There are two types of orders: a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) or a Peace and Good Behaviour Order .
If you are under 25 and would like more information about applying for an order, please send us a Lawmail. If you are over 25, please contact Queensland Legal Aid on 1300 65 11 88.
If you are a victim of crime, you may be able to get some compensation (called financial assistance) from the government. If you are under 18, you usually need a parent to apply for you.
The law on compensation for victims is quite tricky, so if you have a specific question, please send us a Lawmail saying what has happened to you and we can give you more information about victims compensation. It’s also important to apply quickly – if you are over 18, you have to apply for victim’s assistance within 3 years of the crime. If you are a child, you have 3 years from when you turn 18 to apply.
To find out how to apply, please send us a Lawmail, or call Victimns Linkup on 1300 546 587, or visit their website: LINK: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/victims-and-witnesses-of-crime/financial-assistance/applying-for-financial-assistance/.
If your parent or guardian needs some help filling out the form for you, they or you can asend us a Lawmail and we can help you. We can also give you advice on whether you can apply for victims compensation.
It is important to talk to someone if you have been a victim of a crime. So if you can’t talk to one of your friends or a family member, or you just want to talk to someone with experience, there are different services available.
The Victims Assist Queensland is the body that deals with the compensation for victims as we mentioned above. On top financial assistance, they have a call centre called Link-up that can refer you to support services. Their contact number is 1300 LINKUP (1300 546 587) and email address is email@example.com.
As a young person you can contact Kids Helpline if you feel like talking to someone about the issues you are going through. There number is 1800 55 1800.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or family & domestic violence you can call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 737 732. They give specialised counselling and support for victims of this crime.
In an emergency, you should always call 000 for help immediately.
For crimes committed which are not emergencies, you can choose to report the crime:
- Calling Policelink on 131 444 (24 hours 7 days). ; or
- In person by visiting your nearest police station LINK: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/victims-and-witnesses-of-crime/financial-assistance/applying-for-financial-assistance/
Most police stations will have access to Domestic Violence Officers, Youth Liaison Officers, Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers if they are needed.
When reporting a crime, try to keep any evidence that you have because this may assist police.
If you are unsure about reporting a crime or whether a crime has occurred, please send us a Lawmail.
When a crime is reported, the police will investigate and decide whether to charge someone.
In most cases, you are entitled to know about the progress of this investigation.
If the police decide to charge someone, you are entitled to know what the charges are, the date and place of a hearing and the outcome of any criminal proceedings (like what penalties are imposed and any appeal proceedings).
If the police don’t charge anyone, or if they change the charge, you are entitled to know why.
If the defendant pleads guilty, you and other witnesses are not usually required to give evidence.
If the defendant pleads not guilty, you may need to go to court to give evidence. If this is the case, you will be given a court order detailing the time and place at which you will be required to attend court. If you are given an order, you must attend court unless the police or the prosecution officer (person in charge of your case) tells you otherwise.
You will also have the opportunity to tell the court how the crime has affected you. This is called a Victim Impact Statement. A court may take this into account when sentencing the offender.
If you would like some advice on this as a child or young person please send us a Lawmail.
Victims of crime have the right to information about an offender who is in jail.
If you are a victim of crime and you want information about an offender who is in jail, you may be given the information you ask for. You are entitled to know:
- when an offender goes to jail
- how long the offender will be in jail for
- if the offender has escaped jail
- the day the offender is due to be released from jail.
- the day on which the offender due for, release on parole; or due for discharge;
If you are under 25 and have a question about victims of crime that we haven’t answered here, please send us a Lawmail!
This page was last updated on the 13th of June 2015