Victims Assistance Program

Support for those who have witnessed or experienced crime and trauma

The Victims Assistance Program (VAP) is a program that provides confidential information, advice and support for the needs that arise as a direct consequence of a violent crime or trauma. This can include family violence, sexual assault, physical assault and homicide.

Windermere are the contracted provider for the Southern Metropolitan Melbourne and Baw Baw regions which include the following Local Government Areas:

Southern Metro Melbourne

Baw Baw

  • Stonnington
  • City of Port Phillip
  • Bayside
  • Cardinia
  • Casey
  • Frankston
  • Glen Eira
  • Greater Dandenong
  • Kingston
  • Bass Coast
  • Baw Baw
  • East Gippsland
  • La Trobe
  • South Gippsland
  • Wellington

 

Windermere operate this program on behalf of the Victorian State Government through the Department of Justice & Community Safety (DOJCS).

Who does the Victims Assistance Program help?

If you have experienced or witnessed a violent crime, or have had a relative die as a result of violent crime in Victoria, you may benefit from our services.

Physical and psychological impacts of crime

Many people suffering from trauma related to a crime can experience:

  • Physical symptoms: these may include physical injuries received during the crime or physical effects in response to the crime, such as insomnia, fatigue, headaches, etc. Physical symptoms can sometimes persist for some time after the crime has occurred.
  • Practical aspects: you may experience safety or security issues, medical or transport assistance because of the crime. You may also need to engage with the criminal justice system early, in particular police or Courts.
  • Psychological impacts. Effects can vary depending on such things as the type of crime, your belief systems and your own level of personal resilience and may be experienced short-term or may develop into long-term crime-related post-trauma illness.

Eligibility for the Victims Assistance Program

You can access VAP services through Windermere if:
1. You are the primary, secondary and/or related victim of a violent crime or sexual assault
2. The crime has been perpetrated against you in Victoria
3. You are located in the Southern Metro Melbourne and Baw Baw regions as outlined above.

A primary victim means you are a person who is injured as a direct result of a violent crime or have been injured attempting to prevent, aid or rescue someone from a violent crime.

A secondary victim means you are have been injured as a direct result of being present at the scene of a violent crime and witnessing that crime or the parent/guardian of the primary victim who was under the age of 18 at the time the criminal act was committed.

Related victims are close family member, a dependant or someone with an intimate personal relationship of a deceased primary victim.

To speak with our Victims Assistance team today phone 1300 946 337.

Windermere also employs Koori Engagement Workers who are available to provide confidential and culturally sensitive support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of crime in the community.

Enquire below or speak with our Victims Assistance team today on 1300 946 337.

eg. 04xxxxxxxx or 03xxxxxxxx

How the Victim Assistance Program (VAP) can help you

The role of a VAP worker is to assist you to effectively manage and recover from the direct consequences of the crimes perpetrated against you and tailor services to your individual needs. This can be practical support including:

  • Guidance through the Justice system and court process
  • Communicating with police and arranging court supports
  • Information on safety, emergency security and identifying other services that may be of help
  • Making a Victim Impact Statement for court, or submission to the Adult Parole Board
  • Linking in with a solicitor to assess your eligibility of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) for further ongoing long term recovery supports.

A VAP worker will also assist you with emotional support such as guidance to help you organise the most suitable mental health support or therapist (eg psychologist, counsellor) for your situation.

Windermere employ a team of Koori Engagement Workers who are available to provide confidential and culturally sensitive support to you if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The stages of the court process

There are seven key stages of the court process. These include:

  • Investigation
  • Committal
  • Case conferences (held at various stages throughout the entire process)
  • Trial
  • Plea hearing
  • Sentence
  • Appeal

Our VAP workers will connect you to the right services to assist you through each of these stages.

To access this program or to find out more, speak with our Victims Assistance team today on 1300 946 337.

Other useful resources for those who have suffered crime or trauma

There are lots of useful resources available to those who have suffered crime or trauma or for people who care about someone who has.

Victims of Crime government website

The official website of the Victorian Government offers free information and support for people affected by crime. Here you can get advice about reporting a crime, find other services that can help you, get information about the court process and get help applying for compensation and financial assistance.
https://www.victimsofcrime.vic.gov.au/

Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) government website

VOCAT was established to provide financial assistance to victims of violent crime for expenses incurred, or reasonably likely to be incurred, as a direct result of the crime.
https://www.vocat.vic.gov.au/

Court Network

Court Network is a free and confidential community service providing non-legal information, support and referral in court matters before, during and after court proceedings.
https://courtnetwork.com.au/

Victims and Witnesses Assistance Service

The Victims and Witness Assistance Service (VWAS) is another service designed to support victims and witnesses of serious crime through the court process.
https://victimsandwitnesses.opp.vic.gov.au/witnesses/witness-assistance-service

Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission

For those who may have experienced trauma or crime by police or government, you can contact the Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission (IBAC). IBAC were founded to prevent and expose public sector corruption and police misconduct continues within the parameters of public health safety precautions, including independent oversight of policing of public health directions.
https://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/

Family Violence Information Sharing

Windermere is committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people

Laws governing the management of information about people involved in family violence, and the safety and wellbeing of children are changing. Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) and Part 6A of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005(Vic ) with their supporting regulations, permit a number of organisations to share current and previously collected information relating to family violence risk and the wellbeing or safety of children – to keep people safe and perpetrators of violence in view. From 27 September 2018, Windermere will have a role under both schemes, along with a number of other agencies and their funded or contracted organisations.

Find out more about Family Violence Information Sharing

To access more information about the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme visit the Family Safety Victoria website or the Victorian Government website.

 

Privacy Information

Windermere, on behalf of the Department of Justice and Community Safety, collects personal information for the purpose of providing support to victims of crime. Your information is kept confidential in accordance with privacy laws. Without this information we may be unable to provide you with the adequate support you may require, for example referrals to appropriate programs or support services. Personal information may also be disclosed to other organisations under the Victims Assistance Program, the Victims of Crime Helpline and Information Sharing Entities under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and the Child Information Sharing Scheme. You can find out more about the Information Sharing Entities, including a list of Information Sharing Entities, on the information sharing and MARAM reforms website. You are able to request access to the personal information that we hold about you, and to request that it be corrected. If you have any queries or concerns, please contact privacy@windermere.org.au or call 1300946337.  The Department respects individuals’ right to privacy. You can find out more on the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s website.

If you feel your privacy has been breached, you can make a complaint via email to feedback@windermere.org.au

 

**Windermere is committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people** For more information, see our Protecting Children Policy here.