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Criminal injuries compensation: a cost of public health

Author(s)Freckelton, Ian
Title Criminal injuries compensation: a cost of public health
Source Journal of Law and Medicine 7 (2) November 1999 : p. 193
Date 1999
Document type Journal article
Coverage Australia
Summary This article examines payment of compensation to victims of crime in Australia. The development of compensation schemes is outlined, in an international and Australian context, followed by a consideration of some of the justifications that have been given for compensation schemes. These justifications include an obligation by the state to provide compensation because of the state's sympathy and concern; failure of the state to protect its citizens; recognition that victims may have no other redress; and compensation can be seen as therapeutic. Two case studies are included to support the need for compensation. The author examines the changes to compensation schemes in Australia from a public health and public purse perspective. Two questions are discussed: whether the state has an ethical duty to pay compensation and whether money can make a therapeutic difference. The author concludes by suggesting the public health of the community will suffer if economically shortsighted changes to compensation entitlements continue.
Keywords Compensation; criminal injuries; compensation schemes; ACT; South Australia; NSW