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Call for financial support for victims

28 January 2008


MEDIA RELEASE


Victim Support calls for financial support for victims

Examples of victims facing huge financial stress, such as the former partner of Karl Kuchenbecker, are all too common, according to Victim Support.

Victim Support applauds the call from Justice Minister Annette King to examine changes needed to the legal aid system to ensure victims are treated in a caring and compassionate way.

Acting Chief Executive Heather Verry says that the costs of crime for victims and their families can be considerable. “These include immediate and direct out-of-pocket expenses such as medical expenses and ongoing costs, such as lost wages, travel and related costs to attend court trials, and support for ongoing mental and physical health issues.

“The financial burden to society includes not only the cost of healthcare and support services but also lost productivity, “says Mrs Verry.

Victim Support administers the Travel to Court and Parole Hearing Assistance Schemes, which provide a contribution to travel, accommodation and childcare assistance for victims of serious crimes and their families. However, for many, such support can be like a drop in the ocean, says Mrs Verry.

Victim Support is currently lobbying for state-funded support to be available to victims for counselling and treatment, lost earnings and childcare costs if required to take time off work to attend court, and lost earnings associated with physical and mental trauma.

Victim Support responds to all victims’ needs on a daily basis. It operates a 24-hour, 7 day a week crisis response service. “Our 1700 volunteers nation-wide are called out any time often in the middle of the night,” says Mrs Verry.


ENDS

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