Financial assistance

The Victim Assistance Scheme (VAS) provides financial support for victims of serious crime, contributing to costs relating to crime, justice proceedings, and recovery.

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About the Victim Assistance Scheme

The Victim Assistance Scheme (VAS) provides financial support to help victims of serious crime in Aotearoa New Zealand. VAS can contribute to costs related to the crime, the justice process, and recovery. Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support administers the VAS on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Eligibility for the VAS is limited to the victims of serious crime, sexual violence and regulatory offences. It is also available for the whānau or family of someone who has died as a result of a criminal act, including homicide and regulatory offences.

In the first instance, talk with your Support Worker about whether you may be eligible for support under the VAS. An overview of what may be available for you can be found below.

The funding you receive will depend on your individual circumstances and the funding guidelines.

Guide to potential eligibility

victim assistance scheme PDF
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Support if a loved one has died

If a member of your family or whānau has died due to homicide or another criminal act, support could be available to you under the VAS. This includes the following:

A discretionary grant

to assist you with some of the immediate costs following the death. This may support your whānau to pay for the funeral or to be together after the death.

Up to 30 hours counselling

for members of your whānau and family to support healing.

Support for up to 6 people of your choice

to travel to attend justice proceedings, like a trial or sentencing, if you don’t reside in the city where they are taking place. All bookings will be made by Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support.

Support for victims of serious crime and sexual violence

If you are a victim of sexual violence, and of serious crime, you may be eligible for financial support under the VAS. The type of financial support you receive will depend on your individual circumstances, but some of the support that may be available includes the following:

Sexual violence lump sum payment

A $500 lump sum payment to assist you with the financial impact of filing a complaint with the Police and the financial costs of dealing with the aftermath of the crime.

Funding to contribute to safety and immediate financial needs

  • replacing items that will assist with your healing and safety, such as broken windows, or that were taken for evidence
  • overnight accommodation if you can’t stay at home
  • car rental if the Police need to hold your car
  • income lost if you need to give Police statements or take time off work for medical appointments.

Counselling support

if you are a victim of serious crime after 1 July 2023. Counselling support may be available if you are a victim of sexual violence and there are delays accessing this support through ACC in your region.

Taking leave from work

Financial support if you need to take leave from work to attend a hearing.

Limits and eligibility criteria apply to all grants. Some grants are only available in the immediate aftermath of a crime. Please talk to Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support or a sexual violence agency who can help you apply. Proof of damage or costs incurred may be required.

Support for regulatory offences

If you have suffered a serious injury or a member of your whānau or family has died, and prosecutions are initiated by a regulatory authority such as WorkSafe, support may be available for you. This support may include counselling and travel assistance if you need to travel for a justice proceeding.

Limits and eligibility criteria apply to all grants. Some grants are only available in the immediate aftermath of a crime. Please talk to Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support or a sexual violence agency who can help you apply. Proof of damage or costs incurred may be required.

Support for immediate costs after a crime

If a Police cordon has been put in place, the Police confirm they are investigating a crime, and you cannot access your home, you may be eligible for funding of up to $2,000 under the Crime Scene Grant. This grant is designed to pay for costs such as:

Professional cleaning

Emergency accommodation

Essential items like medication and toiletries, up to $300

Pet boarding fees

Support for elderly victims of crime

If you are an elderly victim of crime (aged 65 and over), you qualify for financial assistance for long-term residential care. This means you will not have to pay for your care - it will be fully covered.

There is a category of person who is an 'elderly victim of crime' under the Residential Care and Disability Support Service Act 2018 (the Act).

An elderly victim of crime is a person who:

is eligible for publicly funded long-term residential (LTR) care,

has had their needs assessed and is assessed as requiring LTR care,

is in receipt of contracted LTR care services; and

has been assessed, in accordance with regulations made under section 74 of the Act, as being an elderly victim of crime for the purposes of this Act.

A person classed as an elderly victim of crime is not liable to contribute any amount to the cost of that person's LTR contracted care and a funder must pay the whole of that cost.

Further information can be found on steps to take when considering long-term residential care on the Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora website.

Other financial support

If you suffer an injury or someone has died as a result of a crime, you may be eligible for assistance from ACC. Talk with your Support Worker for more information.

The Victim Assistance Scheme does not cover the costs for witnesses. Please refer to the Ministry of Justice site for further information about what to do regarding payments to witnesses.