Sexual assault and child abuse have a devastating and long-lasting impact on survivors and their loved ones.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 80,000 Australians are victims of some form of sexual assault every year. Only around a third of these offences are reported to the police.
Furthermore, figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) revealed that 2.5 million Australian adults reported experiencing physical and/or sexual abuse before the age of 15.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault, child abuse, physical abuse or mental abuse, then it can help to talk to our legal team.
We offer free over-the-phone consultations, as well as free face-to-face consultations. It goes without saying that anything said during these consultations is completely and utterly confidential.
Our lawyers are supported by a team of expert consultants, including doctors and psychiatrists, to ensure that your claim for compensation is well supported and that the anguish you have suffered is properly documented and substantiated.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we understand how hard it is for victims of sexual assault and child abuse to walk through our doors. With a ‘triple-C’ attitude of “Compassion, Commitment and Competence” when managing our claims, we strive to make the compensation process as simple and painless as possible for our clients.
We act with the utmost integrity and are committed to the belief that part of the recovery process from such abuse is taking legal action to redress the injustice that has been done.
Bringing a successful sexual abuse claim is a complex process. It requires the gathering of extensive evidence, the forming of in-depth legal arguments and intricate knowledge of the relevant laws and legal precedents.
The extensive experience a lawyer can provide ensures that you have a strong ally in your fight for justice.
A statute of limitations effectively sets a time limit on the start of legal proceedings. For offences that have a statute of limitations, claims have to be brought before the time limit expires.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault or physical or mental abuse as an adult, the statute of limitations is three years. If the victim was a child at the time of the offence there is no time limit.
We know from our experience that victims of child abuse, sexual assault and physical or mental abuse sometimes believe they are not entitled to compensation because the abuse happened some time ago.
But we have successfully won cases relating to historic offences, including claims against public and private schools where the abuse occurred over 20 years earlier. Times have changed and the courts are now more understanding of the reasons why such delays occur.
Claims for compensation can be brought against both individuals and organisations. Examples of successful claims for victims of child abuse, sexual assault, physical and mental abuse that we have previously handled include:
Where cases are brought against institutions, we have to show they have been negligent in allowing the abuse to happen. In such cases, we would look for evidence that the organisation knew about the perpetrator’s actions or ignored or failed to respond to complaints and warning signs.
Individuals facing criminal sexual abuse charges will often also have civil claims brought against them. Criminal charges are always given first preference, so claims for compensation are stayed until the criminal prosecution has been completed.
A common misconception in sexual assault and child abuse cases is that a perpetrator has to face criminal charges before civil claims can be filed. This is not true. If you or a loved one is a sexual assault or child abuse survivor you can sue for compensation even if no criminal charges have been filed.
The bar is lower in civil cases. Whereas criminal convictions have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, successful civil cases only require the balance of probabilities to be in the claimant’s favour. This often means that civil action can succeed where criminal action has failed.
Helping sexual abuse survivors gather the evidence they need to bring a successful compensation claim is part of the service Gerard Malouf & Partners provides. You shouldn’t feel that you need to have done this work yourself before coming and speaking to us.
Based on our extensive experience of handling and winning sexual abuse compensation claims evidence typically includes:
The National Redress System was set up in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013 to 2017). It is designed to offer support and financial compensation to victims. Claims can be made until June 2027.
Under the National Redress System, victims can receive a “redress payment”. These payments are decided on an individual basis and range from $10,000 to $150,000.
While the National Redress System provides an important and extremely valuable service, survivors should be aware that civil claims can often result in higher payouts – and that accepting a settlement under the National Redress System precludes you from seeking further damages.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that sexual abuse victims speak to a specialist lawyer before appling through the scheme.
The awarding of financial compensation in civil cases breaks down into four areas:
In some cases, courts have awarded victims “aggravated and exemplary damages”. This usually occurs in special or extreme circumstances when the court wishes to make an example of the defendant.
Gerard Malouf & Partners is not a giant, publicly listed law company. We are one of the largest private law firms focused on compensation law including institutional abuse claims.
Our dedicated client care service team will ensure that you are kept up-to-date at all stages and you receive the triple “C” compassion, commitment and competence from all our staff.
Contact us for no-obligation legal advice about your claim.
Our comprehensive guide to assist you through the myriad of problems that you may encounter when seeking to pursue legal action.
Commonly asked questions concerning institutional sexual and child abuse
Division 10 of the Crimes Act 1900 outlines the criminal offence of sexual assault, as well as the definitions for ‘sexual intercourse’ and other related terminology.
Put simply, sexual assault constitutes any unwanted sexual behaviour committed by one person or a group of people towards another without consent. Continue reading for more information.
A number of religious organisations are currently being investigated in Australia for multiple cases of sexual assault that occurred between their employees/members and people they were meant to be looking after.
Some of them include the Catholic Church, the Uniting Church in Australia, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd, and the the Anglican Church of Australia.
The commission has hit headlines recently due to its work in uncovering child sexual abuse claims against various religious organisations across Australia.
However, it’s not just the church that the agency investigates; all major institutions fall under its remit, including schools, sports clubs and government organisations. The authority explores private, public and non-government bodies that have at any point in time interacted with children.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners we have introduced a policy that if any case appears to be overly difficult or unlikely to obtain a good result for the client our lawyers must bring it to the attention of the management team via a detailed pro forms explanation early and then our management team will take all steps possible to ensure it is successful and that we obtain the maximum result for the client.
This is unlike other law firms who often run compensation claims in a mechanical way. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, our compensation claim services handle each claim thoroughly and comprehensively prepare it in every aspect.
This is more tedious, more complex and costlier for our firm in some ways but the best result will be achieved every time for our clients seeking accident injury compensation service. It is our professional obligation to strive not just for some justice but for the maximum achievable. This is our core philosophy and what differentiates us from other law firms.
Meet some of the diverse and dynamic compensation lawyers that support our clients with institutional sexual and child abuse claims.