Labor to reverse Liberals' retrospective cuts to victims of crime compensation

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A Foley Labor Government will reverse the Liberals retrospective cuts to compensation payments for victims of crime.

In 2013 the Liberals cut payments to victims of crime – reducing for some the amount of compensation they could receive from $50,000 to $15,000.

The new rules were also retrospective, meaning all claims lodged before 2013 were only eligible for a maximum of $15,000 in compensation.

As a result of these cruel new rules, more than 20,000 victims have had their compensation retrospectively cut – many of whom are survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

This disgraceful legislation from the Liberals was unashamedly all about cost cutting at the expense of a properly funded scheme that gave victims of crime decent compensation.

Labor will right the wrongs of the Liberals retrospective laws – meaning all claims arising up until the introduction of the 2013 legislation will be handled under the pre-2013 legislative scheme.

A Labor Government will also review the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013.

Quotes attributable to Labor Leader Luke Foley:

“The Liberals’ reform of victims compensation reflects a Government with no compassion or sympathy towards victims of crime.

“This is just another example of the Liberals putting the budget bottom line above respect and dignity for victims of crime.

“Over twenty thousand victims of violent crime have had their compensation retrospectively cut – often after waiting years to have their claim assessed in the first place.

“A Labor Government will reverse the Liberals’ cruel retrospective cuts to compensation for victims of violent crime.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch:

“Labor opposed these retrospective changes back in 2013. This was all about cost cutting rather than supporting victims of crime.

“Labor’s pledge to reverse the cruel retrospective cuts to compensation will help ease at least some of the heavy burden felt by victims of violent crime.”

Key Facts:

  • The Liberals’ Victims Rights and Support Act 2013, cutting compensation payments to a maximum recognition payment of $15,000, applied to all claims. This includes claims that had already been lodged and were awaiting final determination; claims that had been decided but were subject to appeal; and claims that had been determined but the appeal period had not expired.
  • Labor opposed these changes, including their retrospective nature, noting it would substantially reduce payments to victims of historic sexual assault, a category expected to increase due to the Royal Commission inquiries.
  • In Government, Labor implemented these laws to give victims of violent crime up to $50,000 in compensation. The Liberals based their compensation cut on a PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) study that noted an increase in claims for sexual assault and domestic violence. Despite this increased need, the Liberals went ahead and slashed payments to victims.
  • Notably, PwC did not suggest making these changes retrospective.

Read more on Labor's plan to reverse the Liberals' cruel cuts to compensation for victims of crime.