Victim contributing to the offence or injury
If the victim’s own actions contributed to the offence or to the injury, the claim will be reduced or my be rejected [ Victims of Crime Act 2001 (SA) s 20(4)]. For example, if the victim provoked the offender into assaulting him or her by taunting or challenging the offender to fight, the claim may be reduced to reflect this. The conduct does not have to be physical - it can be words, or it could be a condition such as drunkenness.
However, doing things that are lawful and reasonable, such as visiting a place that has a high crime rate, going out alone at night, or wearing a particular style of clothing, are unlikely to lead to a reduction.
Failure to co-operate with police without good reason
The court cannot award compensation if the victim, without good reason, failed to co-operate with police investigation of the offence [s 20(7)]. This includes reporting the offence in good time, providing any information the victim has about the offender’s identity or whereabouts, and giving evidence in court if required.
However, compensation may still be paid if the victim has a good reason for not co-operating. This might happen, for example, if the victim and the offender are family members, and the victim fears further violence. A person in this situation should seek legal advice urgently so that they can be referred to sources of help and protection.
Claimant committing an indictable offence
If the claimant was committing an indictable offence at the time of the injury, compensation may be refused [s 20(5)].
Failure to reduce harm
In cases arising from offences on and after 1 January 2003, compensation can also be reduced if the victim fails to take up appropriate medical and rehabilitative therapy, or to take other reasonable steps to reduce the harm resulting from the offence [s 20(8)].
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.