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Offender debt recovery notices

The Queensland Government may give financial assistance to help a victim recover from a violent crime. We may then reclaim the money paid to the victim from the person convicted of the offence.

We only recover money if you are convicted in a Queensland court, and not when the matter is referred to the Mental Health Court. We are able to recover fines imposed by the court under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 (PDF, 1008KB).

Recovery notice

When you are convicted of an act of violent crime, there is usually a debt to pay—even if you are a minor, or were a minor at the time of the crime. The decision to reclaim financial assistance payments is made separately to the sentence you receive after you are convicted.

After you are convicted, you will receive a recovery notice from the offender debt recovery program. The notice will explain why we are seeking to reclaim money from you.

Under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act, we may reclaim payments from you relating to either:

  • criminal injury compensation order
  • financial assistance payments.

If you think the amount is too high, you can seek legal advice about appealing the court's decision. You have 28 days to dispute the notice. For information about how to dispute a recovery notice, email offenderrecovery@justice.qld.gov.au or call 1300 856 721.

Liability notice

If you do not dispute the recovery notice, you will receive a liability notice. This notice tells you the amount you must pay and the date it is due (usually 28 days from the notice date).

SPER enforcement order

If you don't pay the liability notice by the due date, your overdue payment will be transferred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER). We will issue you with an enforcement order with a due date, by which you must either:

You can't have your debt converted into unpaid community work or a good behaviour order. We can't waive or reduce the amount that must be paid on the grounds of financial hardship.

If you don't pay the debt, we may take enforcement action against you.

Common questions

Does a time limit apply to my debt?

There is no time limit. We can recover debts many years after a court order for compensation or grant of financial assistance has been made. The Victims of Crime Assistance Act, passed in 2009, gives us a process for recovering past debts.

I was told by the court or my solicitor that the government would pay the debt. Why do I have to pay now?

Even though you didn't have to pay compensation at the time, we can now recover any money we paid to victims of crime on your behalf.

How do you work out how much I pay and how much my co-offender pays?

For criminal injury compensation, the judge divides the amount of compensation by each person's role in the act of violence.

For financial assistance payments, each convicted offender has to pay an equal share of the debt.

Should I have been made aware of the court-ordered amount?

After the court decides to grant compensation, the victim must give you documentation that demands payment. This is often handled by their lawyer.

Sometimes they can't contact you. This means you may not be aware of the debt until you receive the recovery notice.

What if the victim had an injury before the offence—am I still responsible for the debt?

For criminal injury compensation, the judge decides the amount based on facts presented in the case. This decision can't be overruled, and the amount can't be reduced or waived.

For financial assistance payments, the applicant provides medical evidence relating to the injuries they received as a result of the act of violence. They only receive financial assistance to help them recover from those injuries, and not for existing injuries (unless the act of violence has made the injury worse).

Why didn't anyone tell me the victim applied for financial assistance?

The application for financial assistance is separate from the courts, as the decisions is made by a government assessment process. The amount of financial assistance given is based on how much it costs to help the victim recover.

We don't have to notify you when the victim applies. We will not contact you until the matter is finalised. In some cases, this may be years after the event.

Contact details

If you believe your matter has not progressed to SPER, you can contact the offender debt recovery program by:

Otherwise you can contact SPER by:

Last updated
13 October 2017
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