The Government is considering allowing victims of violent crime access the super of perpetrators to claim judgment debts in limited circumstances, according to a consultation paper it recently released.
Under current processes, a perpetrator’s superannuation could not be tapped into to pay judgment debts, which form part of the punishment for the crime, even if they could not pay the debt without it.
As a result, some prosecuted individuals who cannot pay the full debt could be seen as avoiding part of the punishment for their crime.
Josh Rundmann, IOOF technical services manager, said that allowing states to access perpetrators’ super could thus present a “middle ground” to allow victims access not just to state-provided victim support but also the full amount of judgment debt the court ordered.
“Victim support schemes provide valuable assistance in the immediate aftermath of a violent crime being committed against a person,” he said. “However, they are not able to cover all costs which may arise between the crime being committed and a criminal prosecution being completed.
As such, introducing a third element to the hardship provisions to help victims of violent crime which is not reliant on having received previous social security payments should be considered.”
The proposal would see the existing state-operated compensation scheme pay the judgment debt to the victim and then recover any outstanding balance from the perpetrator’s super. This would remove the need for any interaction between victim and perpetrator.
It would also prove useful in cases of wrongful convictions, as the state would be better positioned to repay any necessary amounts.