Miles Government extends support to non-violent crime victims

Published Sunday, 30 June, 2024 at 01:00 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

  • Victims of non-violent crime to benefit from $2 million investment over four years
  • Statewide access to counselling and referral services

For the first time in Queensland, victims of non-violent property crime now have access to a range of services following the appointment of UnitingCare to coordinate assistance across Queensland.

The Miles Government will spend $2 million over the next four years to support community members who have been a victim of non-violent property crime. 

Non-violent property crime examples include situations such as burglaries while the occupant was not at home or while the resident was sleeping but wasn’t disturbed.

At the first point of contact, victims will be provided with free access to therapeutic counselling and information, advice, and referral to other relevant organisations where appropriate.

Those seeking therapeutic counselling will be provided appointments for counselling sessions and appropriate follow-up contact.

UnitingCare has significant expertise in the provision of statewide counselling services, including face-to-face, telephone and online contact.

Service delivery models are trauma informed and cognisant of First Nations peoples, those who are culturally and linguistically diverse, and children.

The service will begin on Monday (July 1).

People who are victims of property crime where violence or the threat of violence was used, may already be eligible for financial assistance.

The latest announcement comes on the back of almost $16 million pledged in the Queensland Budget 2024-25 to see the dedicated Victims of Crime Community Response (VOCCR) program continued and expanded.

Established last December, the program provides an immediate support response to meet the urgent needs of victims of crime, their families, and their communities following a serious, violent crime.

A VOCCR team was stood up in Redbank Plains in February in response to the tragic death of Vyleen White.

They stayed for more than two weeks and recorded more than 2,000 interactions with the public.

They were again stood up in Mackay last weekend following the shooting death of Natalie Frahm, where the team provided assistance or referrals for 28 people including three children.

Victim Assist Queensland received an increase of $15.57 million in April to ensure the timely delivery of financial assistance to victims of crime.

This was on top of the Miles Government investing $200 million in September to enhance support for victims of crime in Queensland. This funding included $185 million to increase financial assistance limits payable to victims and resources for VAQ.

The number of primary victims waiting more than six months for financial support from VAQ has reduced from 61.8% for applications received in 2021-22, to only 4.4% this year.

This is replicated for categories including related victims, parent secondary victims and witness secondary victims.

Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette D’Ath:

“We have been listening to victim-survivors and victim advocates, and the Miles Government has been taking action.

“Funding counselling services for victims of non-violent property crime is a Queensland first.

“My heart goes out to anyone who has been a victim of a crime.

“I know from my own personal experience what it feels like to have been targeted and how it affects your life.

“We know that crime can have a profound impact on a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. 

“So it’s important not only to hold offenders to account, but also to ensure victims are supported.

“It’s also paramount that victims, including domestic and family violence survivors, receive financial assistance that helps them address any trauma they have endured.

“We changed legislation to provide faster access to payments so victims can begin the process of recovery sooner.

“These initiatives have led to a significant rise in demand so we have bolstered VAQ’s workforce to ensure victims of crime continue to get the support they need.”