Sexual Assault & Child Abuse Compensation

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.

Futhermore, 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.

Why Gerard Malouf & Partners

At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we understand how hard it is for victims of sexual assault and child abuse to walk through our doors, and we strive to make the compensation process as simple and painless as possible.

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.

We are proud of our commitment to obtain compensation for sexual abuse survivors and we pride ourselves on our “Triple C” attitude of “Compassion, Commitment and Competence”.

Sexual assault and child abuse claims

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 experienced 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.

Do I need a lawyer to handle my claim?

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.

Our extensive experience of building and winning these cases and our firm commitment to integrity and confidentiality make Gerard Malouf & Partners a strong ally in your fight for justice.

What compensation can I expect for my sexual abuse claim?

The awarding of financial compensation in civil cases breaks down into four areas:

  1. Cost of treating the immediate physical or psychological injury
  2. Ongoing medical costs, such as domestic care to recuperate from long-term injuries
  3. Non-economic (pain and loss) damages for psychological or emotional distress
  4. Loss of earnings or superannuation if the incident leaves you unable to work

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.

What is the statute of limitations for sexual abuse?

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.

Can I sue a teacher for sexual abuse?

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:

  • Professionals who have held a position of trust such as doctors, teachers, psychologists and psychiatrists
  • The Department of Community Services in New South Wales and equivalent departments Australia-wide
  • Religious organisations including the Catholic Church
  • Actions against public and private schools, including boarding schools

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.

Can I file a civil claim against someone facing criminal charges?

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.

How do I prove a sexual abuse claim?

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:

  • Proof of medical treatment costs (or counselling and / or physiotherapy)
  • Records of the victim and offender being in a given place when a sexual offence took place (e.g. enrollment in schools, residence at an aged care facility)
  • A victim’s signed statement of truth that their story is accurate

What is the National Redress System?

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.

For free over-the-phone advice or to take advantage of our free face-to-face consultation call our expert public liability lawyers team today on our Free Call Number 1800 004 878.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.