Mother of murdered Wangaratta child Zoe Buttigieg stripped of Victims of Crime support

Zoe Buttigieg, 11, (left) was murdered in 2015 by Bowe Maddigan (right).
Zoe Buttigieg, 11, (left) was murdered in 2015 by Bowe Maddigan (right).

Support from Victims of Crime provided to a mother "traumatised" by the sexually assault and murder of her 11-year-old girl in 2015 has been suddenly withdrawn by the Victorian government.

Janelle Saunders had been receiving help from the department after her daughter Zoe Buttigieg was killed at their Wangaratta home.

Northern Victoria MP Tania Maxwell revealed to Parliament last week that three years on from the girl's death, at the hands of a "recidivist violent criminal", that had ended. 

She posed her question to Victim Support Minister Ben Carroll.

"Is it true that Zoe’s mother was last year stripped of continued support under the government’s victims of crime program without any meaningful warning and with a mere four words of reasoning given to her for the decision in a bureaucratic form letter?" Ms Maxwell said.

She asked if it was common for "someone still deeply traumatised by a personal tragedy" to be told on short notice that the Victims of Crime assistance would be ending via "a deeply insensitive and unsettling piece of correspondence".

Northern Victoria MP Tania Maxwell

Northern Victoria MP Tania Maxwell

Ms Maxwell told The Border Mail counselling should be ongoing and victims can feel like less of a priority if their rights are put behind those of perpetrators, who get access to programs, education and counselling.

"This is advocacy for all victims and their families to take a stand and let the government know that the rights of victims should always be prioritised," she said. 

"I hope the government will look into this particular case & reassess the cold and disgraceful delivery of such disappointing news, and the ramifications for Janelle and her family."

Ms Maxwell committed to advocating for the government to fix the "shocking oversights" and expected an answer from the minister within two weeks.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for a comment.