General Support Services & Counselling
Many people have experienced crime in one way or another. They may have experienced crime directly or they may be close to someone who has experienced crime. It may have been a property crime like burglary or theft of a motor vehicle. It may be a personal crime such as physical or sexual assault.
The impact of crime can vary. People may experience a range of emotional reactions. For some this might mean long-lasting impacts. For others, the impact is short-term but intense. Victims of crime who have contact with police and the justice system often describe finding the process complex, confusing and/or intimidating.
Victim Support ACT delivers the Victims Services Scheme for the ACT Government. Our services are free and confidential for victims who have experienced crime in the ACT. The Victims of Crime Commissioner is an independent statutory advocate and the head of Victim Support ACT.
You can use the services if you are:
- A person who has suffered harm as a result of a crime
- A family member of a person who has died as a result of a crime
- A person who has witnessed a crime
It is not necessary to have reported the crime to police and you can access the service at any time after the incident.
Anyone who is a victim of a crime committed in the ACT is eligible for some support or information from Victim Support ACT.
Victims of non-violent crimes such as burglary or motor vehicle theft are provided with up to two hours of support. Victims of violent crimes may be entitled to more extensive level of service – depending on the impact the crime has had and the level of support they need.
You will be given an opportunity to speak to someone in the Early Intervention Team, either immediately or someone will phone you back shortly.
The Early Intervention Team can provide you with initial support and assess your specific needs. They may also assist you to make contact with other service providers as appropriate and to provide you with helpful information about recovery and/or the criminal justice system.
If you have been the victim of a violent personal crime, you may also be eligible for recovery services such as counselling, physical therapies or other rehabilitation services. The Early Intervention Team will talk with you about this and may set you up with an ongoing case manager to assist this process.
People who are eligible and wish to have ongoing support from our agency will be allocated a ‘case manager’ who will endeavor to assist them across a range of areas. Case managers will work with you to identify the issues that you are struggling with and your goals for recovering from your experience of crime. Case managers will also communicate with other organisations that you are linked with (with your permission) to minimize confusion and ensure a seamless service.
If you are eligible we can provide assistance such as;
- in house counselling or counselling in the community;
- referrals to organisations that may be able to provide additional support;
- accessing additional therapeutic services (such as physiotherapy or massage) if these services may assist recovery.
The level of service provision and amount of counselling hours available to victims of crime through Victim Support ACT is determined by the Victims of Crime Regulation 2000.
Information and assistance:
The justice system can be complex, confusing and intimidating. If you have reported a crime to police and are dealing with the criminal justice system, Victim Support ACT will offer some information and other assistance to help you with this. For example:
- information about the process, rights and responsibilities of victims who act as witnesses in court
- support to protect your rights as a victim of crime
- advice and assistance in relation to prosecution, court processes, restorative justice the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court
- help to stay updated about the criminal case
- help to communicate with police, prosecutors, court and other staff members of criminal justice agencies
- assist you to complete a victim impact statement for sentencing or make a submission regarding parole.
- support to make an application for the financial assistance scheme;
Some victims of crime may also be entitled to make an application to the ACT Government for financial assistance.
Rights as a Victim of Crime:
You may feel that your rights as a victim of crime have not been respected by those engaged in the administration of justice. You can make a complain to the agency directly. You can also raise your concerns with the Victims of Crime Commissioner.
Victim Support also provides the Court Companion Program.