Information about what to do if you receive an order for restitution from Victims Services or an overdue fine from Revenue NSW about a restitution debt.

Restitution is when Victims Services takes action against you to recover the financial support and/or recognition payment paid to the victim or their family members.

If you were convicted of a relevant offence in NSW, the victim or their family members can apply for financial support and/or recognition payment from Victims Services. This is called victims support. 

After compensation has been awarded, Victims Services can then start the process to recover some or all of the money paid to the victim or their family members. This is called restitution.

You will only be ordered to pay restitution if you were convicted by the Court of committing a relevant offence. Restitution is separate to your criminal proceedings.

Sample: Sample Order for restitution

A relevant offence includes:

  • an offence where an act of violence was committed
  • an offence for which victims support is given
  • any other offence taken into account when you were sentenced.

An act of violence means an act (or series of related acts) that has:

  • occurred during an offence
  • involved violent conduct against a person or people
  • resulted in injury or death to that person or those people.

A conviction is the finding of guilt and the sentence given by the Court.

A conviction includes imprisonment, bonds, fines and community service orders. It also includes an order made under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 and s33 of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987.

If you were not convicted for an offence and have been contacted by Victims Services or Revenue NSW about restitution, you should get legal advice.

An order for restitution is the first step that Victims Services takes to recover money from you. An order for restitution was previously called a ‘provisional order’. 

An order for restitution is usually sent to your last known address for service or to the correctional centre (if you are in prison). It does not need to be served on you in person. 

It will include information about:

  • the relevant conviction
  • the name of the victim
  • the date and amount of victims support paid to the victim
  • your options to respond to the order.

For more information, see Responding to an Order for restitution.

If you received an overdue fine from Revenue NSW for a restitution debt, it means that Victims Services has confirmed the order and referred it to Revenue NSW for enforcement. There are many ways you can respond to an overdue fine from Revenue NSW.

For more information, see Responding to an overdue fine from Revenue NSW.

If you received a provisional order from Victims Services before 27 April 2020, and you have a payment plan with Victims Services, you must ensure your payments are made on time.

If your financial circumstances have changed, you should contact Victims Services on 1800 633 063 to discuss your circumstances. 

You should complete the Payment options form and provide a letter explaining why your circumstances have changed and what you would like to pay. You should also provide supporting evidence, for example a copy of your bank statement showing your current income and expenses.

Instructions: Payment options

Sample: Payment options

Sample: Letter explaining change in circumstances

If you need help negotiating, you can speak to an advocate. For more information, see Advocates.

Victims Services will assess your application and decide if your payment plan should change. You will receive a letter from Victims Services about their decision. 

Do not stop making your payments. If you stop paying or pay less than the agreed amount, Victims Services can confirm the order and refer the balance of the restitution debt to Revenue NSW for enforcement action against you to recover the unpaid amount. Revenue NSW will also add enforcement costs. 

For more information, see Responding to an overdue fine from Revenue NSW.

If you have other debts, you should speak to a free financial counsellor. Financial counsellors can help you manage and reduce your debts. For more information, see Talk to a financial counsellor on the National Debt Helpline website. 

If you are bankrupt or have applied for bankruptcy you may still be liable to pay restitution. Whether you are liable will depend on when you applied for bankruptcy.

For more information, see Bankruptcy.

  • Time limits

    Time limits

    An order for restitution can be made up to two years after the date of conviction or up to seven years after a victim claims financial support from Victims Services. 

    You have 28 days to respond to an order for restitution, even if you are in prison. After this time, Victims Services will confirm the order. It is then called a ‘confirmed order’.

    Victims Services has 12 years from the date of the confirmed order to enforce the debt. If the date of the confirmed order is over 12 years, you should get legal advice.