Sexual Abuse Claims – Summary
Sexual abuse can occur anywhere at any age. Whether it was the Catholic Church, Youth Detention Centre, or a private/public school misusing or abusing their power, you can claim compensation at any time.
We understand that if you have suffered abuse that you are in pain. We also realise that your trust may have been betrayed which led to you being abused. We cannot ever make it right, but we can give you a voice and the legal support to get some justice through compensation. The guilty will not acknowledge their wrong-doing voluntarily – making a claim can bring you one step closer to reclaiming your life.
We will have your back the entire way should you choose to use our legal services.
Roche Legal currently only offers representation for victims of abuse that occurred in an institution. An ‘institution’ means an organisation of some kind such as a school, church, or Youth Detention Centre.
Your Options to Making an Abuse Claim
Your potential avenues to access compensation in relation to the childhood sexual abuse are:
(1) Making an Application through the National Redress Scheme; or
(2) Pursuing a Common Law Claim for Damages for personal injuries (civil litigation).
Option 1: The National Redress Scheme
The national redress scheme has been in place since 1 July 2018 and in that regard, is a relatively new scheme and system for accessing compensation for victims of childhood sexual abuse. There are various requirements which need to be considered when establishing whether you are eligible to access compensation under the redress scheme, such as:
- You have been a victim of sexual abuse;
- You were under 18 years of age at the time of the abuse;
- The abuse occurred before 1 July 2018;
- The abuse occurred while you were under the care of an institution which has opted into the scheme (see a list of institutions);
- You were an Australian citizen at the time of the abuse;
- You are not currently in gaol and have never been incarcerated; and
- You have not already received a court ordered payment with respect to the abuse from the institution.
There are three components of the redress scheme which constitute the assistance you will receive:
- Free counselling;
- A direct personal response from the institution;
- Redress payment of up to $150,000.
Components 1 and 2 above are the same for all survivors of abuse and you will have the opportunity to access them.
Option 2: Common Law Claim for Damages (Civil Litigation)
A common law claim is a civil claim based in tort. It is a claim for damages for personal injuries arising out of the abuse you were subjected to as a minor whilst under the care of the institution. Unlike the redress scheme, a common law claim is not capped in terms of the potential damages that are recoverable.
There are two major aspects to a common law claim. The first is liability (including limitation arguments) and the second is quantum (the amount) of damages. In order to obtain any amount of money as compensation it is necessary to first establish that the institution is liable for the abuse you have suffered.
In order to establish liability you must demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that the Respondent:
- the Respondent owed you a duty of care; and
- the Respondent breached that duty of care (for example, the Respondent was aware, or ought to have been aware that the perpetrator had a propensity to inflict the type of abuse that he did, perhaps because he had done this before and the respondent knew that); and
- as a result of that breach, you suffered an injury.
If you were to be successful in proving fault on the part of the institution, the amount of compensation you would receive is assessed in accordance with common law principles. The way that the amount of compensation is calculated under a civil claim for damages is by reference to a number of “Heads of Damage”. These include the following:
- General Damages (Pain and Suffering)
- Past and Future economic loss (loss of earnings or earning capacity)
- Loss of Past and Future Superannuation
- Interest on your past losses; and
- Out of pocket expenses.