Offender debt recovery notices
If you have been convicted of an act of violence against a person in Queensland, the Queensland Government may recover from you a portion of either:
- a criminal injury compensation order
- the financial assistance the government paid to the victim of the offence.
We can only recover the money if you are convicted in a Queensland court (excluding the Mental Health Court).
The decision to recover the money is made separately from the sentence you received. We may recover the money from you regardless of the age you were when you were convicted.
After you are convicted, you may receive a recovery notice from the offender debt recovery program. This notice is issued under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009.
The recovery notice will tell you the:
- date of the conviction the debt relates to
- court you were convicted in
- crime you were convicted of
- amount of money owed
- process to follow if you want to dispute the debt.
You have 14 days to consider the notice and decide if you want to dispute the debt or not.
If you decide not to dispute the debt, you will automatically receive a liability notice (28 days after the date of the recovery notice).
The liability notice tells you the:
- amount you must pay
- date it is due (usually 28 days from the notice date)
- payment process.
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 an enforcement order to you with a due date, by which you must either:
If you don't pay the debt, we may take enforcement action against you.
Does a time limit apply to my debt?
The recovery notice must be issued within 6 years of the date of either:
- the conviction
- the victim’s application for financial assistance.
The date used is the later of these 2 dates.
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, the victim has the right to apply for financial assistance under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act. This process happens separately from the court process. If assistance is granted to the victim, we can recover a portion of that assistance from you.
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?
If the court decides to grant criminal injury compensation to the victim, 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, assistance is only granted if the victim was directly injured by the act of violence you committed. The injuries that can be considered are outlined in the Victims of Crime Assistance Act. Under the Act, an injury may include the exacerbation (worsening) of a pre-existing injury, illness or medical condition.
Why didn't anyone tell me the victim applied for financial assistance?
We have strict obligations about who we can disclose personal information to. The law does not allow us to disclose the victim’s personal information to you.
We can only disclose to you that an amount has been paid to a victim of an offence you were convicted of and the details of the conviction. The first time we disclose this information to you is when a recovery notice is issued. In some cases, this may be years after the act of violence was committed.