Institutional abuse can be physical or psychological and can occur in various settings, including in foster care, day care, detention centres, religious institutions, nursing homes and psychiatric or mental health care facilities. If you’re a survivor of abuse, or aware of someone who may be suffering following abuse, know that the survivor deserves justice.
This article provides information on a survivors right’s and how to claim compensation through the Redress Scheme vs a Civil Claim.
It can happen in any institution such as:
This is not an exhaustive list, and abuse can happen to people of all ages wherever they’ve put their trust and safety in the hands of authority or institution.
Historical abuse essentially describes any situation where a person’s freedom to choose has been stripped away. Abuse can happen once, intermittently or consistently throughout someone’s lifetime. Some forms of abuse might take several states such as:
As a result of some of these forms of abuse, people will begin to show clear (or sometimes subtle) signs of harm (whether ongoing or after a single event). Some indications that abuse is happening in an institutional setting could include:
When someone is severely abused, they may come out of the institution (if ever) worse off than when they entered. If you are a survivor of institutional child abuse or elder abuse, you should know your rights and how to seek righteous compensation for the crimes inflicted on you.
While no amount of money will undo the events of abuse, legal compensation can cover the cost of therapy, medical treatments and living costs for those who are unable to work.
You have the right to file a claim against your abuser or institution with the police. You should also seek medical examination and advice from a doctor as soon as possible. This can help you deal with any long- or short-term damage such as physical ailments or to begin emotional trauma healing. The earlier you seek help, the faster you will pave the road to recovery.
If you want to gain compensation to cover your expenses, you must speak with a lawyer who specialises in institutional abuse compensation claims.
In 2013, the Commonwealth Government called upon the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia. This focuses specifically on children who were sexually abused while in the care of state institutions and organisations. As the Commission learned more about how institutions respond to claims and the difficulty victims were facing in court, The Commission started to improve how they dealt with the matters.
As a result, institutions that are accused of any type of abuse are investigated by the Royal Commission.
In the years following 2013, the Commission improved reporting and responding practices and developed the National Redress Scheme on 1 July 2018.
Limitations of the National Redress Scheme
Alternative Options – A Civil Claim
A civil claim is where you sue the institution and/or offender responsible for the abuse. There are many benefits to choosing this option over Redress:
1. There is no limit on the amount of compensation that can be awarded and your case is assessed on its own merit. That means the case is tailored specifically to you and the impact the abuse has had on your life. From our experience almost every civil claim results in a payment in excess of $150,000 (the maximum amount payable under Redress). Some civil cases settle for in excess of $1million.
2. A civil claim provides an opportunity to claim compensation in respect of:
3. A civil claim is not limited to the institutions who have registered with the Redress Scheme. A civil claim can be brought against any institution or individual offender.
4. The majority of civil claims will settle favourably for the plaintiff (person making the claim) without the need of going to a final hearing before a Judge.
5. Civil claims are not limited to sexual abuse. A claim can also be brought in respect of serious physical abuse.
What’s the Best Option for You?
Contact GMP Law today to discuss your claim. Our expert team would be pleased to discuss your claim and the potential options open to you on an obligation free basis.
From our experience the majority of people are better off brining a civil claim. A civil claim gives you the opportunity to be heard and will likely result in a much higher sum of money being paid to you in recognition of the abuse and its subsequent impact on you.
What if I have already Applied for Redress?
If you have already applied for Redress but you have not yet accepted an offer for Redress then you can still make a civil claim. We recommend you contact our office today to discuss your options.
Once an offer for Redress has been accepted there is unfortunately no civil claim available against the institution in respect of the abuse.
Generally, you must lodge a personal injury claim in most states and territories within three years of the incident.
Until recently, this included child sexual abuse — both domestic and institutional. However, due to the research, the Royal Commission put into understanding child sexual abuse and how survivors come out of the event, they found that it takes an average of 20 years to process the crimes done to them and then to speak up and seek justice. For this reason, the statutory time limits have been abolished for child sex abuse.
Making a Redress Scheme claim involves several stipulations. Such regulations include being the age of 18 or older when you file, never having served time in jail and never receiving payment related to your abuse.
Outside of the Redress Scheme, all adults in the community have a responsibility to report child or patient abuse. In Victoria, specifically, there is a law enacted in 2014 called the Failure to Disclose Offence. There are intervention orders across the country to encourage bystanders, who have a reasonable belief that abuse has been committed, to come forward to the police.
If you or someone you know has suffered institutional abuse of any kind, you should feel empowered to come forward, seek legal advice and help this person out of the cycle of trauma. While the survivor will need to recount the events to their lawyer, and while we understand this can be extremely hard or even triggering, we are here to listen to your experiences and help you seek justice.
Once your abuse lawyer has taken down the details of your claim, we will work tirelessly to help you make a claim and earn compensation. You can count on Gerard Malouf & Partners abuse lawyers to fight for your rights against the institutional response to abuse. We have extraordinary court and mediation results for institutional sexual abuse received in Victoria and other states and we can help you too.
Reach out to a personal injury lawyer today for a no-obligation legal advice consultation.
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