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Filing a State Ward Compensation Claim in NSW

A ‘ward of the State’ refers to a person who was under the care or custody of the State, commonly due to abandonment, neglect, or because the parents were unable to care for them. A child may also have become a ward of the State due to being a ‘status offender,’ meaning they engaged in behaviour considered unacceptable for a minor, such as truancy or running away from home, rather than committing a serious criminal offence.

For some State wards, the very institutions entrusted with their care failed to provide a safe and nurturing environment, ultimately leading to abuse. In New South Wales (NSW), those who suffered harm — whether sexual, physical or psychological — while as a State ward can seek compensation through specific legal avenues designed to redress their experiences. 

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An overview of State ward compensation claims

The prevalence of NSW State ward abuse has come to light in recent years. While the true number of abuse events is unknown, a significant number of survivors are coming forward with their experiences and seeking redress. If you’ve suffered as a ward of the State, know that you are not alone and that there are legal avenues available to help you seek justice and compensation.

Filing a State ward compensation claim

Those who experienced childhood sexual abuse have the option of seeking redress through the National Redress Scheme. The Scheme exists to acknowledge and support survivors, providing access to counselling, a direct personal response from the responsible institution and a financial compensation payment.

The average time for the National Redress Scheme to process an application is 12 months. They’ll send back an offer, and applicants have the choice as to whether they accept or request a revision. 

Others choose to file a civil compensation claim rather than a National Redress Scheme claim, for several potential reasons: The Scheme’s offer may not be sufficient, the compensation cap is higher for civil claims, or the abuse wasn’t of a sexual nature, among other possible reasons. 

Civil claims begin with booking a free consultation with one of our compensation lawyers. Our team can assess the strength of your case and inform you of your legal options. This way, you can take out the guesswork and gain a clear picture of what to expect moving forward.

If you decide to file a civil claim after meeting with our team, you will then partake in a private settlement meeting (mediation) — this is where the majority of compensation claims are settled. Mediation is the process whereby a neutral third party helps facilitate discussions between your legal team and the institution’s representatives, aiming to reach an agreement without the need for a court trial (litigation). Should mediation not result in a settlement, the next step could involve taking the claim to court — a process that tends to be lengthier compared to mediation. 

Every claim is unique; regardless of how your claim progresses, our compensation lawyers will ensure you receive the redress you’re owed, based on your specific circumstances. 

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Your compensation entitlement

For survivors of childhood sexual abuse who decide to file a National Redress Scheme claim, the payout can be anywhere from less than $10,000 to a maximum of $150,000 — the average payout being $87,955.

For civil claims, the compensation amounts widen in scope: survivors can claim compensation for:

  • Economic damages: This includes loss of earnings and opportunities, medical expenses, therapy costs and other tangible financial losses.
  • Non-economic damages: This includes coverage for the psychological harm endured, as diagnosed by a Psychiatrist. This can range from severe mental health conditions to a general loss of life enjoyment. 


Other compensation types can be claimed, also, including exemplary and aggravated damages. But, each case and its compensation entitlements differ: during your free consultation, our team will let you know what your entitlements may be based on the specifics of your case.

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Book an appointment with our expert team of compensation solicitors.

$250,000 to a woman who suffered sexual abuse at a NSW child remand centre

This case involved the horrific abuse of our client who was made a ward of the state and transferred to a NSW remand centre in 1972. After already suffering from sexual, mental and physical abuse at the hands of her mother’s former partner from the age of 11, she ran away from home. She was charged at Children’s Court on account of being uncontrollable and was sent to a remand centre in Western Sydney.

During her time at the remand centre, our client was sexually abused on many occasions by multiple people, including men, women, staff and other patients. As a result of this abuse, she suffered debilitating psychological injury and was ultimately diagnosed as an adult with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Recurrent Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and Panic Disorder, Chronic Pain Disorder and Post Traumatic Personality Change.

After struggling to cope with the effect that this abuse has had on her for her entire life, this woman made the brave decision to contact us and share her story with the hopes of receiving some compensation to assist with the ongoing costs of treatment, such as visits with her psychiatrist. Ms. Julie Baqleh, an accredited personal injury specialist, took charge of the matter and determined that this woman’s claim had merit. Ms. Baqleh commenced proceedings against the State of NSW, as our client was in the care of the State when she suffered from this abuse.

Mindful that reliving the memories of the abuse was traumatic for our client, Ms. Baqleh organised a mediation with the representatives of the State of NSW, with the hopes of settling the matter without having to put our client through the public and costly process of proceeding to hearing at court. After lengthy negotiations, Ms Baqleh and one of our senior barristers managed to secure a settlement of $250,000 for our client.

GMP Law: Compassionate, committed and competent legal services

While offering compassionate, committed and competent legal services, we also offer our clients our no-win, no-fee policy. This means that we take on all the costs of your case — court fees, expert witness expenses and others — and only get paid once we win your case.

Talk about this policy, alongside any questions and queries you may have, during your free consultation with one of our expert compensation lawyers. You can book a consultation here, or call us on 1800 004 878.

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Successful Historical Abuse Claims

About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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