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Published date: Monday, 15 October 2018

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Victims injured by a motor vehicle used to carry out a terrorist attack in NSW will become eligible for free counselling and financial support under changes to the Victims Support Scheme.

Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Counter Terrorism David Elliott announced that the NSW government will move amendments to the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013.

“The changes will address a gap in the law to enable victims of vehicular terror attacks like those on the London Bridge last year or in the French city of Nice in 2016 to access the same support as someone who might be stabbed or shot by the driver before or after the attack,” Mr Speakman said.

“This is a sad reality of the world we live in. We need to ensure our Victim Support Scheme responds to evolving threats and best supports victims of terrorism.”

Mr Elliott said proactive policing is keeping Australia safe from terror but the threat remains ever present and the terror alert is currently set at “probable”.

“As we have seen across the globe, the arsenal of terror now includes vehicles to carry out lethal acts of violence. This reform can never erase the devastation left by terror attacks, but it will improve vital support for victims should such an atrocity ever occur here in NSW,” Mr Elliott said.

Additional funding will also be provided to Victims Services to provide crucial information to victims of terrorism and to deliver specialist training to counsellors, mental health workers, and youth workers.

“Treating trauma caused by terrorism is a unique area of work and victims have specialised needs. Building this capability is critical to ensure victims of terrorism in NSW receive the best possible support to manage the impacts of trauma,” Mr Elliott said.

Victims and close family members will be able to access up to 22 hours of free counselling and a recognition payment of up to $15,000. Funeral expenses of up to $8,000 will also be made available. Primary victims will be eligible for: 

  • up to $5,000 for a victim’s immediate needs; and
  • up to $30,000 for longer term financial aid.

Family victims will also be eligible for up to $5,000 in court or criminal justice related expenses.