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  3. 10. General
  4. 10.20 Victims of crime and the role of Victim Assist Queensland
  5. Key steps
  6. 2. Provide information to a victim of crime

2. Provide information to a victim of crime

In accordance with the Victim of Crime Assistance Act 2009, Child Safety staff have an obligation to ensure that in any circumstance when it is believed that a child, family member, staff member or approved carer has been a victim of crime, the person has access to sufficient information to allow them to contact Victim Assist Queensland.

In all cases provide this information in one of the following ways:

  • the Victim Assist Queensland telephone number or email – telephone 1300 546 587 or email victimassist@justice.qld.gov.au
  • details of the Victim Assist Queensland website email address 
  • a Victim Assist Queensland brochure. (PDF)

There are additional responsibilities for children subject to child protection orders, which are outlined below.

Supporting victims - Protect all children today

Protect All Children Today Inc. (PACT) is a community based not for profit organisation that has expertise in supporting child victims and witnesses of acts of violence throughout Queensland in the Criminal Justice System and provides child witness court support services in Queensland Courts.

The Child Witness Support Program provides support for children who are required to give evidence in criminal courts, either as victims of, or witnesses to, a crime. Support is also provided to the child’s carers.

The QPS usually refers a child to PACT for support at the time the alleged offender is arrested. However, PACT can also provide support for a victim at earlier stages. It is important for Child Safety to provide consent for a child to receive support from PACT in a timely manner.

Obligations to victims of crime across the child protection continuum

The children and families that Child Safety works with may be victims of an act of violence and, depending on the specific circumstances, they may be eligible for support and financial assistance from Victim Assist Queensland to help them recover from the acts of violence experienced.

1.  Intake

When information received at intake includes allegations of harm to a child or other person resulting from an act of violence, the information may be too limited to assess that harm due to an act of violence has occurred. Where the information is sufficient, the RIS CSO will provide an alleged victim with information about services and assistance available through Victim Assist Queensland, where it is determined that a notification will not be recorded.

However, where the notifier is a prescribed person (from a government department, or an employee from a non-government agency that provides a service to victims) under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009, the notifier has a responsibility to inform the person of services and assistance available through Victim Assist Queensland. In feedback to notifiers who are first responders (such as QPS and Queensland Health), Child Safety may seek confirmation that the notifier has met or will meet their obligations under the Charter of Victims’ Rights.

2.  Investigation and assessment

If information provided during the course of the investigation and assessment indicates that a person may have been a victim of an act of violence, the CSO will provide the child or family member information about services and assistance available through Victim Assist Queensland.

Where the outcome of an investigation and assessment is ‘substantiated - child not in need of protection’ or ‘substantiated - child in need of protection’ and the child remains in the home, the CSO will provide Legal Services with information about the child, the circumstances of the act of violence, and any injury experienced.

Legal Services will provide staff with the relevant information resource and letter template to use to provide information to the victim, depending on the child’s age and capacity to understand the information, or the victim’s parent or guardian. After providing the information, the CSO will:

  • document that the child has been identified as possibly being a victim of an act of violence and that information about how to contact Victim Assist Queensland has been provided
  • record this information in a ‘CP case note’, sub-titled ‘Victim of crime’ in ICMS.

A parent who has been identified as a person responsible for an act of violence against their child is unable to make an application on behalf of the child. In circumstances where the perpetrator remains with the family, this process will be done sensitively and be responsive to the safety needs of the child and the family.

3.  Intervention with parental agreement

If information received about a child is subject to intervention with parental agreement indicates that the child may have been a victim of an act of violence, the CSO will provide the child or family member information about services and assistance available through Victim Assist Queensland. The CSO will encourage the parents to seek information about whether the child is eligible for support and financial assistance from Victim Assist Queensland. This includes situations where the child is subject to a child protection care agreement.

4.  Child protection orders

A child subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, who may have been a victim and potentially eligible for assistance through Victim Assist Queensland may be identified through case work activities, such as:

  • applications and affidavits for child protection orders
  • critical incident reports
  • review processes involving a serious injury to a child or child death
  • standards of care harm reports
  • criminal or civil court results received via an Integrated Justice Information System (IJIS) automated email
  • a Domestic and Family Violence alert created in ICMS.

The decision about when to make an application for a child person to receive assistance from Victim Assist Queensland should be made at the earliest possible time and in consultation with Legal Services. This action will be part of the case planning process for the child.

Legal Services will advise of the information required to support the application. The relevant Child Safety staff member will collate and provide the information to Legal Services in a timely manner.

If the incident has not previously been reported to the QPS, the CSO will report the incident in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2), and advise Legal Services when this is done.

Interim or final child protection orders granting custody to the chief executive

When a child is subject to an interim or final child protection order granting custody to the chief executive, the parent or guardian is responsible for facilitating an application for assistance from Victims Assist Queensland.

Child Safety may seek approval from Victim Assist Queensland to facilitate an application for assistance on behalf of a child subject to a custody order to the chief executive, where Child Safety provides, in writing, reasons why the parent or guardian is not fit to, or not in a position to, lodge an application on the child’s behalf. For example, a parent may have a mental health issue or may be an alcoholic, and the condition impedes their ability to follow through on making an application. Victim Assist Queensland considers applications on a case-by-case basis.

Child protection orders granting guardianship to the chief executive

When a child is subject to a child protection order granting guardianship to the chief executive, the CSO will facilitate an application for assistance from Victim Assist Queensland on behalf of a child identified who has been injured through an act of violence.

Child Safety staff, in consultation with Legal Services, will identify opportunities to assist children apply for Victim Assist Queensland assistance for goods and services they may need to recover from physical, emotional or psychological injuries resulting from an act of violence in Queensland. 

5.  Respond when a child in care experiences harm 

In circumstances where a child has experienced harm, including sexual abuse, while placed in care, consult with Legal Services to determine if an application should be made to Victim Assist Queensland. For more information on responding to a child who has experienced sexual abuse while in care, refer to Chapter 5, 15. What if a child is sexually abused whilst in out-of-home care?

6.  Review a case plan 

As part of each case plan review process for a child subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, determine whether the child may have been a victim of an act of violence.

Where it is assessed that the child may have been a victim of an act of violence, gather information from the following sources to determine whether information about Victim Assist Queensland has been provided and whether the incident has been reported to the QPS:

  • case records and ICMS
  • Legal Services
  • the child
  • the child’s parent
  • the child’s carer, if applicable.

Where information about Victim Assist Queensland has not been provided to date, provide the child, their parent, carer or guardian, as applicable, with information about Victim Assist Queensland and advise them that support and assistance may be available. Following this, the CSO will:

  • liaise with Legal Services about the possibility of an application being made on behalf of the child - refer to 3.1 The role of the CSSC and Legal Services
  • report the incident to the QPS, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2), if it has not already been reported
  • include information about any application to Victim Assist Queensland, or potential future application for assistance in the child’s case plan.

7.  Transition to adulthood 

When a young person has been a victim of crime is transitioning to adulthood, refer to Chapter 5, 2.10 Plan and support the young person’s transition from care to adulthood, and include the following information in the young person’s transition to adulthood plan or other relevant documents:

  • that consultation is occurring, or has occurred, with Legal Services
  • that an application for assistance from Victim Assist Queensland has been or is being made on behalf of the young person or
  • that the young person, or their parent or guardian, if applicable, has been advised to consider applying for assistance from Victim Assist Queensland at a later date and provided with information to support an application.

Applications for financial assistance or reimbursement do not remove the obligation of Child Safety to provide children subject to child protection orders with goods and services they may need to recover from physical, emotional or psychological injuries resulting from an act of violence committed in Queensland. The cost of goods and services will be met through relevant child related cost payments while the child remains in the custody or guardianship of the chief executive.

It is important to continue to use child related cost payments to meet counselling costs and other relevant services, to ensure funds granted by Victim Assist Queensland are preserved for when the child turns 18 to meet ongoing post-care support needs. Legal Services will provide guidance in relation to the use of grants.

When a child who has been a victim of crime is transitioning to adulthood, Child Safety will inform the Legal Services, and Legal Services will arrange for the release of funds from the Public Trustee and, where relevant, seek the reimbursement of fees from Victims Assist Queensland for the young person.