NARRIER  WACIC 6
This case was a Criminal Injuries Compensation (CIC) claim brought by the victim who was the victim of multiple historic domestic violence offences committed by the offender.
The best way to approach this case is to understand the powers and limitations on time and compensation provided for in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (Act). The relevant powers and limitations are stated in the sections below:
S 9: A compensation application must be made within 3 years after the date on which the offence to which it relates was committed; or if it relates to more than one offence, the last of them was committed. However, an assessor may allow a compensation application to be made after the 3 years if he or she thinks it is just to do so.
s 12: A person who suffers injury because of the commission of a proved offence may apply for compensation for the injury and any loss also suffered.
s 17: If an alleged offence is committed but no person is charged with the alleged offence, then the person who suffers injury because of the commission of the alleged offence may apply for compensation for that injury and any loss also suffered.
s 31: The maximum amount that may be awarded for a single offence is limited in the manner as specified below:
- 22 January 1971 to 17 October 1976 (indictable offence: $2 000 – simple offence: $300)
- 18 October 1976 to 31 December 1982 $7 500
- 1 January 1983 to 31 December 1985 $15 000
- 1 January 1986 to 30 June 1991 $20 000
- 1 July 1991 to 31 December 2003 $50 000
- 1 Jan 2004 onwards $75,000
s34: If two or more offences are committed by one person that are not related offences, and another person suffers injury the amounts awarded must not in aggregate exceed twice the maximum amount that may be awarded for the last one of the offences to be committed.
s 38: An assessor must not make a compensation award in favour of a victim if the assessor is of the opinion that the victim did not do any act or thing which he or she ought reasonably to have done to assist in the identification, apprehension or prosecution of the person who committed the offence.
This case involved 17 incidents which occurred over a long period commencing in 1992 and ending in 2002.
The application was filed on 8 February 2017. This was approximately 14 years after the last offence was committed on 20 December 2002. The assessor had initially rejected this claim as she was not satisfied it was just for her to extend the time pursuant to section 9(2). The application had been brought approximately 11 years out of time.
This refusal went on appeal and the District Court of Western Australia and the court was of the view that the reasons advanced for the delay were sufficient to grant the victim leave to obtain compensation. The matter was then referred back to the CIC assessor for quantification. This case was that assessment of quantum.
The assessor found that the offences involved serious and serial abuse of the victim by the offender which often resulted in the offender being treated in hospital.
Of these 17 incidents only 4 were proved offences as contemplated in s12 of the Act and the balance were alleged offences as contemplated in s17 of the Act. The reasons generally advanced for not pressing charges against the offender, and these were accepted by the assessor, were that the victim feared further abuse. The assessor decided that the offender was thus not excluded from compensation by s38.
Pursuant to sections 31 and 34 of the Act, maximum that could be awarded to the applicant was $100,000. This is because the offences occurred between 1 July 1991 to 31 December 2003 and the maximum that could be awarded for a single offence is $50 000 (s31). The maximum amount that can be awarded if two or more offences are committed by one person must not in aggregate exceed twice the maximum amount that may be awarded for the last one of the offences to be committed (s34).
The assessor considered the available evidence including the victim’s psychological injuries as detailed in the psychiatrist, Dr Ng’s report, and her numerous physical injuries. She assessed the victim’s injuries in the sum of $67,500 based on the individual circumstances of each incident and the overarching psychological trauma. She also awarded the victim $1,617 for the cost of the reports and $2.50 for transport which totals $69,119.50.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.