What the scheme can help with

The purpose of the scheme is to help witnesses who have themselves become victims of crime as a result of helping the police.

You do not have to have appeared as a witness in a criminal trial. You may have helped in the ‘administration of justice’. This includes things like reporting a crime or giving information to the police. The accused does not have to have been prosecuted or convicted of the crime for you to be able to claim compensation.

If you are in a close relationship to a witness who is victimised you may also be able to claim compensation for losses. This would be if you had a material loss from helping or caring for the witness.

If you can claim money through other means, such as private insurance, you won’t be able to make a claim under the scheme.

Types of losses you can claim for

You can claim for losses such as:

  • destruction of housing, vehicles, household contents, and clothing
  • accommodation expenses
  • up to three months lost earnings.

If the assessor looking after your application agrees, you may also be able to claim for:

  • losses not covered, or only partly covered, by other forms of compensation
  • threats as well as actual damage to property. The police will need to endorse the claim. They will need to agree that you’re at real risk.

Amounts you can claim for

  • The lowest amount you can claim under the scheme is $300.
  • The highest amount you can claim is $30,000 except in rare cases where not paying more would be a severe injustice.

What you can’t claim for

You can’t claim for:

  • psychological injury, nervous shock or trauma
  • any loss that is covered by your insurance
  • any injury that would be covered by ACC.

You also can’t claim fees for appearing as a witness.

Witness protection programme

If you are in, or have been in the police witness protection programme, the scheme will only cover losses incurred before you went on the programme.

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