For victim-survivors and their families, knowing where and how to access support after a criminal road accident can be confusing. On one hand, a crime has been committed which may have involved speeding, driving under the influence or dangerous driving. Charges relating to serious driving offences may include negligent driving, occasioning grievous bodily harm or negligent driving, occasioning death. The offending driver may have been charged with one or several charges and the matter going through the Criminal Justice System. Yet, on the other hand, NSW Victims Support Scheme does not provide assist to victims of crime when a motor vehicle has been involved.
The NSW Victims’ Rights and Support Act (2013) states:
S 25 (2) A person is not eligible to receive victims support in respect of an act of violence if that act took the form of, or the injury arose as a consequence of, a motor accident within the meaning of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999.
However, exceptions to this may apply and a family victim is eligible to receive victims support in respect of an act of violence referred to in S 25 (2) if:
- the act of violence took the form of the intentional killing of the primary victim, and
- a person has been charged with murder in relation to the death of the primary victim.
In addition, a primary victim and a family victim are eligible to receive victims support in respect of an act of violence that was a terrorist act within the meaning of the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002.
Instead, victims who have been injured, or families who have lost a loved one through a motor vehicle accident may be able to access support via the State Insurance Regulatory Authority.
For matters that relate to serious injury or death caused by a criminal road accident, VOCAL is able to provide assistance with:
- Emotional support and advocacy
- Accessing Government support
- Court preparation and support
- Victim impact statements