Other information and support

Charter of Victims Rights

If you have been a victim of sexual violence, you have rights under the Charter of Victims Rights (the Charter). The Charter sets out how government departments, including the police, and government-funded agencies, should treat victims of crime in NSW.

The Charter requires that victims be:

  • treated with courtesy, compassion and respect;
  • given information about any prosecution, including details about charges, court appearances, bail conditions, etc;
  • provided with information about, and access to, welfare, health and counselling services;
  • given privacy and protection; and
  • provided with information about the criminal justice system.

If you think someone has not acted in accordance with the Charter, you can make a Charter complaint to Victims Services NSW. They will try to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible and can make service recommendations to agencies.

Complaining about police

If you think you may have a complaint about a NSW police officer, try to resolve it first by speaking to the duty officer or officer in charge at the local police station.

If that doesn’t work, you can complain in writing. Here is what to include:

  • your name and contact details;
  • a detailed description of the matter reported (including Event number if known);
  • the date, time and location of the incident;
  • the names of people involved, or who could otherwise help police to resolve your complaint;
  • the names (if known) of the NSW police officers involved;
  • details of any documents, records, witnesses etc, that may assist in the resolution of your complaint;
  • what you expect the NSW police to do about your concern; and
  • any other information you consider relevant.

You can send the complaint to the Commissioner of Police and if the matter remains unresolved you can also send it to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) to investigate. In most cases, complaints made to LECC will be referred to the relevant NSW Police Force unit or Commissioner of Police in the first instance.

Generally, police complaints should be made within 12 months of the incident you are complaining about.

Victims Support Scheme NSW

If you have been a victim of a violent crime, including sexual violence, you can seek legal advice about whether you may be eligible to access the Victims Support Scheme. The Scheme includes:

  • information, referrals and advice;
  • counselling;
  • financial assistance for immediate needs;
  • financial assistance for economic loss; and
  • recognition payments to acknowledge the trauma you have suffered.

Time limits

If you have experienced sexual violence and/or another domestic violence offence as an adult, you have 10 years from the last act of violence to apply for a recognition payment. However, if you were a child when the sexual assault occurred, there is no time limit on applying for a recognition payment under the scheme. You have until you are 28 years old to apply for a recognition payment in relation to non-sexual violence perpetrated when you were a child.

You have 2 years from the act of violence, or from turning 18, to apply for financial support for immediate needs and/or economic loss.

Visit the Victims Services NSW website or call LawAccess for a referral to your local free legal service for more information.

The National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme was established by the Federal Government in response to one of the recommendations of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Commission.

Under the Scheme, eligible survivors of institutional child sexual abuse can apply for a monetary payment and other support if the responsible institution has joined the Scheme. Applications are open until 30 June 2027.

Knowmore Legal Service provides free legal advice and support to survivors of child sexual abuse, including on applications under the Scheme. For more information, see ➤ Useful contacts for Knowmore Legal Service.

Changes to the law for institutional child abuse claims

Courts have the power to set aside and reassess the damages paid for child abuse claims that were settled prior to changes to the law in 2018, if it is just and reasonable to do so.

In addition, restrictions on awards for damages for child abuse that previously applied to offenders in custody have been removed. If you think you might be affected by these changes to the law, it is a good idea to seek legal advice. For more information on who you can contact for legal advice, see ➤ page 33.

Options for temporary visa holders

For some visas, the family violence provisions may apply, allowing a victim of domestic violence, including sexual violence, to apply for permanent residency in Australia without having to stay in a violent relationship. You can get advice about your legal rights from the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre or Legal Aid NSW. See ➤  Useful contacts for Contact details.

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