Peter Foss

Peter Foss


Attorney General announces new restitution and compensation laws for victims of crime

7/01/2001 10:00 AM

Attorney General Peter Foss has announced the introduction of new State’s sentencing laws which will ensure stronger restitution and compensation orders to help Western Australia’s victims of crime.

A Compensation Order is an order for the offender to pay money to the victim of the crime in recognition of damage or losses sustained, while a Restitution Order is an order for the offender to return goods to the victim of a crime.

The changes have been designed to make the court process easier to understand and more sympathetic to victims.

Under the new legislation a court may now order that an offender pays compensation even if they have no immediate means to pay.

“Importantly this means victims will not have to sue if they want to take action or if the offender later comes into money,”Mr Foss said.

If the court believes an offender has the ability to pay compensation, it can order that he be imprisoned if he doesn’t pay.

This third kind of order is made when the court believes the offender still holds the proceeds of the crime. In that case, it can impose an extra term of imprisonment which would be served on top of any other sentence imposed and could only be avoided by handing over the hidden assets.

The legislation also makes it easier for the victims of crime. Where a Restitution Order is made, victims are now able to enlist the help of the sheriff at no cost to recover goods which are the subject of a restitution order made by the court.

Victims are still eligible to make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act (1985) and can still take separate civil action against the offender.

The legislation is effective from January 8.

Media contact:
Danielle van Kampen - 9321 2222

"In the past it was often difficult to get a Restitution or Compensation Order the new laws make it almost certain that a person should be able to get a Compensation order against an offender. Although they may not be able to guarantee getting that money out of them certainly if they ever have any money there will be a much simple process to recover it.." (30 Secs / 3,275KB)