Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Victims of Crime Payments

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:30): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the Attorney-General please inform the council about the recent changes made to the victims of crime regulations, which will make applications for compensation easier for regional victims of crime?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:31): I thank the honourable member for his question, and I am very happy to do so. I was very pleased with the recent changes that were able to be made to a minor part of the operations of the victims of crime scheme, which will make the application process for compensation more accessible, particularly for victims of crime living in more remote communities in South Australia.

Currently, when victims of crime apply for statutory compensation through the Victims of Crime Act 2001 they need to provide certified copies of two different forms of photo identification. This involves the prospective applicant having to find either a legal practitioner or justice of the peace to certify their identification documents as required by the operation of the scheme pursuant to the regulations.

For many people living within metropolitan Adelaide this wouldn't necessarily be an onerous task; however, if you are living in a remote or regional community it may well be more difficult to locate either a lawyer or a justice of the peace in your local area, potentially forcing travel of a significant distance for those services.

The Commissioner for Victims' Rights, Bronwyn Killmier, has shared her knowledge of numerous cases where victims of crime applicants have had to embark on round trips of many kilometres in order to get those documents certified by the required authorities. This had placed a burden and a potential barrier for regional and remote victims of crime and has now been rectified with changes to the way the scheme operates, having updated the requirement so as now to also allow sworn police officers to certify these application documents for the purposes of the victims of crime scheme.

I am very pleased that in working together with the Commissioner for Victims' Rights, who first raised this issue with me, we have now been able to make this small but important practical change for victims of crime that will hopefully make the process of lodging an application for compensation an easier one.

In addition to this requirement update, a further change will be made to see that only one of the two forms of identification required in an application will need to be photographic ID, where formerly both identification documents were required to be photographic. This change has also been made in an effort to make compensation applications more accessible for victims of crime who may not have a driver's licence or passport. The second form of ID can, as I said, be supplemented with other standard forms of ID used in a standard 100-point identification check, such as a birth certificate or Medicare card.

Both of these changes to the victims of crime scheme were developed in response to feedback from both the Commissioner for Victims' Rights, Bronwyn Killmier, and the Crown Solicitor's Office. I would like to thank the commissioner and the Crown for their collaborative efforts on these small but meaningful changes to the victims of crime scheme in this state.