Anyone can be a victim of crime. By definition, a victim of crime is anyone who suffers physical or emotional harm, or loss or damage to property as a result of a criminal offence.
If someone committed a crime against you, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. You can do this by dialing ‘000’ or by going to a police station.
In this section of the Manual, you can find out about:
In NSW, there is a Charter to protect and promote the rights of people who are victims of crime. The Charter is set out in the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW) and is overseen by Victims Services, which is a division of the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The Charter provides the guiding principles on how victims of crime should be treated by government agencies.
The Charter of Victims’ Rights sets out the following rights of victims of crime:
If you are a victim of violence and you require protection from the perpetrator of the violence (the person who was violent to you), you can apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against that person.
An AVO is an order made by a court to protect a person by ordering the perpetrator of the violence (also called the defendant) not to do certain things. The AVO takes effect as soon as the defendant is told of the order (either when the defendant is present in court when the order is made, or the defendant is told of it by the police).
There are two types of AVOs:
An AVO by itself does not result in the defendant having a criminal record. However, it is a crime for the defendant to breach (disobey) the order. If you are the victim and you know the defendant has disobeyed the order, you should call the police immediately.
Domestic and family violence includes any behaviour, which is violent, threatening, coercive or controlling, causing a person to live in fear. It is usually exhibited as part of a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour.
An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order is used when there is a domestic relationship between the victim and the defendant. Domestic relationships between two people have a broad definition in law in NSW and can include marriage, a de facto relationship, an intimate personal relationship (whether or not of a sexual nature), living in the same household, being long-term residents of the same residential facility, a relationship of ongoing unpaid care or relationships being relatives. In the case of an Aboriginal person or a Torres Strait Islander, domestic relationships include the extended family or kin of the other person according to the Indigenous kinship system of the person’s culture. In certain circumstances of domestic violence, police must apply for an ADVO on the victim’s behalf.
Legal aid is available to the victim, and in special circumstances, to the defendant as well.
Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Services provides free information and support across NSW for the process of applying for an ADVO.
An Apprehended Personal Violence Order is used when there is no domestic relationship between the victim and the defendant, for example if the victim and defendant are neighbours or work colleagues.
Legal aid is not available for either the victim or the defendant unless there are special circumstances. Some community legal centres may provide free legal assistance.
If someone other than the police makes the application for an APVO, the magistrate can refuse to deal with it.
If you are under 16 and in need of protection from someone who is abusing you, you must contact the police so they can apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) on your behalf.
If you are under 16 and the police suspect that you are being abused or are likely to be abused, they must apply for an AVO on your behalf. This must happen even if you have not contacted the police about the abuse.
There are four basis categories of assistance available to victims of crime in NSW:
Your eligibility for each form of assistance will depend upon your relationship to the crime. There are two categories of ‘victims who can get victims’ support:
An act of violence includes crimes such as assault, domestic violence, robbery or sexual assault.
You are a primary victim if:
Primary victims of crime are eligible for all four forms of victims’ support.
For how to make a claim for a victims’ recognition payment, click here.
You are a family victim if you are a member of the immediate family, including a dependent family member of a primary victim when the act of violence was committed, and the primary victim died as a direct result of that act of violence.
For how to make a claim for victims’ support, see below.
You are a family victim if you are a member of the immediate family of a primary victim when the act of violence was committed, and the primary victim died as a direct result of that act of violence.
For how to make a claim for victims’ compensation, see below.
An application for a victims’ recognition payment must be made within two (2) years of the act of violence except in cases of sexual assault and domestic violence. If the application is made more than two (2) years after the violence, an explanation for the delay must be given with the application.
A ten (10) year time limit applies to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Special rules apply to children and young people. A person may make an application for a victims’ recognition payment for a crime that occurred when they were a child within two years after they turn eighteen (18). There is no time limit for such applications for people who were victims of sexual assault as children.
This link will also tell you more about the application and decision-making process for victims’ support applications.
For information about limits on victims’ support and how to appeal against a decision, see below.
Victims’ support is not available:
If you are not happy with a decision about victims’ compensation that affects you, you can appeal to the Victims Compensation Tribunal.
You can apply for victims’ support yourself or through a lawyer.
A lawyer can also represent you if you need help in relation to an Apprehended Violence Order.
To find out about getting legal help, click here.
Victims Services provides a Victim Access Line and an Aboriginal Contact Line for victims of crime:
Freecall*: 1800 633 063
Aboriginal Contact Line: 1800 019 123 Or
These telephone information and referral services operate between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), but if you call outside these times you will be provided with other options.
The Victims Services website has a lot of useful information, including information about:
*mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.
Please find some other victims’ support services below:
Updated May 28, 2020