Bushfire Assistance from VOCAT

May 31, 2009

VOCAT understands that many people have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of the recent Victorian bushfires. The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal may, in some circumstances, be considered as a source of financial assistance.

There are a number of schemes and grants that have been provided by the state and federal governments, supported by the Bushfire Appeal Fund. VOCAT have issued a special   “Information for persons affected by the Victorian Bushfires” sheet which makes it clear that

“The Tribunal can award financial assistance only where an applicant is unable to obtain assistance from any other source (and then identifying the various schemes).”

Also quoting from this Information Sheet:

“The Tribunal can award financial assistance for reasonable medical and counselling expenses to assist a person in the recovery from an act of violence, and where loss of earnings or funeral expenses have resulted from an act of violence. In some circumstances, an applicant may be entitled to a payment which recognises distress or trauma experienced by them as a direct result of the act of violence. In exceptional circumstances, the Tribunal may award assistance for other types of expenses that will assist an applicant’s recovery from the act of violence. The Tribunal cannot award financial assistance for expenses incurred through the loss of, or damage to, property as a result of an act of violence, except for clothing worn at the time of the act of violence”.

Hutchinson Legal can assist in making applications to VOCAT for bushfire assistance, at no charge to the applicant.

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