Improving claims processes following large-scale vehicle ramming attacks

Vehicle-ramming attacks on civilians have become more frequent in recent years. The first Australian vehicle-ramming attack occurred on 20th January 2017 in Melbourne’s Bourke Street. During the attack, six people were killed and 36 were physically injured.


Individuals who are impacted by these mass casualty events may experience a range of negative psychological reactions, regardless of whether they were directly injured or involved. Victims may be unable to attend work or may need to seek psychological treatment. It is therefore important that support and resources are available to individuals to cope following the event and to assist with their recovery.


Government or third party compensation schemes are able to provide financial support to victims who have lost income or require access to treatment as a result of these types of attack. However, these schemes vary by country and state with limited literature available to guide best practice for managing compensation claims following vehicle-ramming attacks.


Phoenix Australia is taking the lead to establish international guidelines for mental and physical injury claims management following large-scale incidents. The team is collaborating with compensation and trauma experts from around the world to develop a series of best practice principles for use by compensation organisations following mass casualty attacks.


Dr Tracey Varker, who is leading the project at Phoenix Australia, said “The findings from this work will inform how organisations manage compensation claims following large-scale vehicle attacks in the future, as well as helping the international community to support those affected by this type of mass casualty incident”.


Resources for people affected by trauma are available on the Recovery section of this website: