Other support services
This page provides information about specialist support services that may be available to you.
The OPP can refer you to specialist services for further support. You can also access some of these services directly.
Information about how the OPP can support you is here How we can support you.
Child Witness Service
The Child Witness Service have expertise working with children, young people and their families during the court process. The Child Witness Service:
- support children and young people when they give evidence
- work closely with police and the OPP and provide case updates
- support child witnesses and their families during the criminal case
- refer child witnesses to community agencies for further support if needed.
When a case involving a child victim or child witness is referred to the OPP, the VWAS social worker will ask the child’s parent or guardian for their consent to make a referral to the Child Witness Service.
Any person, including family members, can also contact the Child Witness Service to refer a child or young person.
To make a referral call 03 9603 9266 or 1300 790 540 during business hours.
Further information about the Child Witness Service is available here.
Victims Assistance Program
The Victims Assistance Program (VAP) is a network of agencies across Victoria that provides free services to victims of violent crime.
- help you prepare a Victim Impact Statement (VIS)
- help you lodge a Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) application
- help you apply for financial assistance
- help you access information about the offender (if you are eligible)
- help you explore options if you have concerns about your home security or personal safety
- refer you to other services in your local area, such as counselling.
VAPs can also:
- support you to report a crime to police
- explain the court process
- help you prepare for court
- help you with arrangements to get to and from court
- support you in court or in a remote witness facility
Your VWAS social worker can refer you to your local VAP.
You can also get in contact with your local VAP by calling the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817.
Court Network is an agency that provides information and support to people who go to court.
Court Network operates in the Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Supreme Court.
Court Network volunteers can:
- show you the court before the hearing
- support you on the day of the hearing
- sit with you while you are waiting or when you are inside the courtroom
- help you avoid contact with family members of the accused person at court.
Court Network has a room at court that is available for families and witnesses who need a quiet space.
Your VWAS social worker can refer you to Court Network.
You can also call the Court Network on 1800 681 614.
If you are at court and you would like to support from Court Network, you can ask a security guard or a person at the front desk of the court to put you in contact with Court Network.
Intermediaries are trained professionals with special skills in communication. They support vulnerable victims and witnesses in giving their evidence in court.
You are eligible to be supported by an intermediary if you are:
- a child under 18 years of age, or
- an adult witness with a cognitive impairment
and you are:
- a victim of a sexual offence, or
- a witness in a homicide case.
The intermediary will:
- assess the victim or witness
- write a report about the best ways to communicate with the victim or witness
- advise the court, the prosecutor and the defence about the best ways to communicate with the victim or witness.
The intermediary may attend court while the victim or witness gives their evidence to help with communication.
The OPP can request an intermediary to support an eligible victim or witness. Before we make a request, we will seek the consent of the victim, witness or their caregiver.
The trial judge can also appoint an intermediary to support a victim or witness.
Victims of Crime Helpline
The Victorian Government’s Victims of Crime Helpline provides free information, advice and support for victims of crime and their families.
Call or text the Victims of Crime Helpline for:
- advice about reporting a crime
- information about the court process
- help to apply for compensation and financial assistance
- help to find other services that can support you.
Open 8am–11pm every day
Call 1800 819 817
Text 0427 767 891
Victims of Crime Commissioner
The Victims’ Charter Act 2006 sets out principles about how police, the OPP, and victims’ services agencies are to treat victims of crime.
If you feel that the police, the OPP, or a victims’ service has not treated you in line with the Victims’ Charter, you may be able to make a complaint to the Victims of Crime Commissioner.
Who can make a complaint
You can make a complaint if you are a:
- victim of crime
- family member of a victim of crime who has died as a result of that crime
- family member of a child who is a victim of crime
- family member of a victim of crime with a mental impairment.
Before you make a complaint
Before you make a complaint to the Victims of Crime Commissioner you must make a complaint to the agency first. This gives the agency a chance to address your complaint.
To make a complaint to the OPP see Complaints and feedback.
Further information about how to make a complaint to the Victims of Crime Commissioner is available here Make a complaint.
To make a complaint to the Victims of Crime Commissioner you can:
- call 1800 010 017
- email email@example.com.
They can help you to submit your complaint and answer any questions you have about making a complaint.
The Victims of Crime Commissioner cannot help with certain things
The Victims of Crime Commissioner cannot:
- provide direct support to victims of crime
- provide legal advice
- release information that might lead to the identification of a victim
- influence the way a criminal case is run or change the outcome of a case that is going through the courts
- act in a way that could influence a criminal investigation, a criminal or civil case, an investigation by the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission, an investigation by the Victorian Inspectorate, or discipline proceedings conducted by Victoria Police.
Other specialist support services
You can contact these services directly for further support.
If you are a victim of family violence or sexual assault
- Centres against Sexual Assault (CASA) provide support to victim survivors of sexual assault. They are located throughout Australia.
- Domestic Violence Resource Centre (DVRCV) offers information, education and counselling to women, children and family members who are experiencing domestic and family violence.
- Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service provides culturally sensitive support throughout Victoria to women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are experiencing domestic violence.
- Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre provides information, support and referral to other support services. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) provides women with free and confidential information and referrals on any issue.
If you are experiencing grief or loss of a loved one
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provides education, counselling, research and clinical services for people experiencing grief and bereavement.
- Grief Line provides support to people who have experienced significant loss.
- Road Trauma Support Service provides information, counselling and support to people who have lost a loved one through road trauma.
Suicide, counselling, and crisis services
- Suicide Line provides free professional anonymous support 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Victoria.
- Kids Helpline offers a 24-hour counselling service for young people aged five to 25.
- Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Mensline is a professional telephone support, information and referral service for men, specialising in family and relationship concerns.
Information for victims and families after a workplace incident
- WorkSafe can provide an information officer to liaise with families and injured workers during the investigation and prosecution process.
If you have safety concerns
If you are in immediate danger, you should contact the police by calling 000.
If you have concerns for your safety
If you have been the victim of a crime, you may feel vulnerable or fear for your safety. If you are worried that the accused may threaten or harm you or your family, you should speak to the police informant.
If the accused person tries to contact you
The accused person may try to contact you for different reasons.
You should avoid having any contact or communication with the accused person, or anyone connected with them, because this may have a negative impact on the criminal case.
If the accused person tries to contact you, or threatens you or your family, you should tell the police informant.
An intervention order is a court order made by a magistrate to help protect you and your family from another person.
There are two types of intervention orders:
- a family violence intervention order helps protect you from a violent family member
- a personal safety intervention order helps protect you from someone who is not a family member.
You can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an intervention order if another person has:
- assaulted or threatened to assault you
- damaged or threatened to damage your property
- harassed you or behaved in an offensive way
- caused you to fear for your safety or that of your family or another person.
How to apply for an intervention order
To apply for an intervention order, contact your local Magistrates’ Court for an appointment.
Information about how to apply for an intervention order is available here:
- Victoria Legal Aid online brochure – How to get a family violence intervention order
- Magistrates’ Court Victoria – Family violence intervention orders
- Magistrates’ Court Victoria – Personal safety intervention orders.
For help to apply for an intervention order contact:
- Victims of Crime Helpline call 1800 819 817
- your local Victims Assistance Program
- the police.