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Australia’s leading consumer law firm Slater and Gordon, is urging women who are victims of domestic violence to report their experience to police and be aware of their rights to criminal injuries compensation.

Speaking on International Women’s Day, personal injury lawyer Karina Hafford said it was important for violent perpetrators to be brought to justice and for those who had suffered because of them to receive the compensation that they were entitled to.

“All too often we see women who are suffering at the hands of their partners and they can be left with terrible emotional and physical injuries,” Ms Hafford said.

“Sadly, one in every four women in Australia who have ever been married or in a de-facto relationship will experience some form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse by that partner.

“Family violence is a significant cause of homelessness leaving many women and children without secure accommodation, and the children who witness violence are often left with horrific memories that last a lifetime.

“Those who suffer injuries as a result of domestic violence may be entitled to compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. This money often goes towards medical expenses and counselling to deal with the abuse they’ve endured.”

Ms Hafford said to be eligible for compensation the domestic violence incident must first be reported to the police, and in most cases there needs to be a conviction.

“The problem with domestic violence is that it happens behind closed doors and those who suffer are usually hesitant to report the offender to police,” Ms Hafford said.

“Many who experience domestic violence don’t even know about this scheme, so it’s important to raise awareness and encourage them to seek assistance.

“While the compensation is limited and may often be inadequate – considering the significant consequences of domestic violence receiving an award of compensation is an important acknowledgment to applicants that they have been the subject of a crime.”

Under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, those suffering as a result of a crime or a close relative of a person killed as a result of an offence can seek assistance for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical or psychological expenses.

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