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Criminal Injuries Compensation in South Australia

NCJ Number
Date Published
58 pages
This document reviews South Australia's Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, a program providing monetary payment to those who suffer injury (or in some cases financial loss or grief) as a result of criminal victimization.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act was passed in 1969 and over the past 19 years has undergone a number of changes. Amendments in 1986 broadened eligibility criteria to include claims for grief, and, in 1987, the maximum amount of compensation payable was raised to $20,000. Since 1985, the scheme has been supported by a special fund that receives revenues from prescribed fines, confiscation of assets obtained from crime, general State Government revenues, and a victim levy on all fines or expiations. Between 1979-1980 and 1987-1988, the number of claims paid rose from 32 to 318, while total payments increased from $87,879 to $1,498,068. To review the scheme's operation and assess claimants' satisfaction with current procedures, files of 356 claim applicants for 1984, 1985, and 1986 were reviewed; and interviews were conducted with 110 claimants. Results of this evaluation do not indicate a need for radical restructuring of the system. The process does not appear to be overly cumbersome or difficult for the victims, although victims were increasingly dissatisfied if their claims had taken more than 12 months to finalize. Claimants also were critical of the $10,000 maximum compensation amount. Recommendations for improvements and further research are included. Research instruments are appended, 1 figure, 13 tables, and 13 references.