1. Civil Damages Claim
A civil damages claim is a legal process wherein, in most cases, the institution is taken to court, holding them legally accountable for the actions of the perpetrator. The outcome of a civil damages claim is a monetary compensation payment, commonly referred to as ‘damages,’ awarded to you as the survivor of abuse.
Compensation is evaluated based on the unique circumstances of your case and may cover:
- The psychological impact resulting from the abuse (‘pain and suffering’).
- Lost income, considering the impact on your working life and career earnings, including ongoing losses if you haven’t reached retirement age.
- Treatment costs (e.g., medication and counseling) that you’ve already incurred.
- Ongoing treatment costs.
You also have the option to request a personal response from the responsible institution, which may include an apology. While the specifics of the claim process can vary depending on the state you reside in, the fundamental principles remain consistent. Compensation assessments are not subject to a cap, aligning with court decisions in the same state or territory where you file your claim.
Who’s eligible for a civil damages claim?
You may be eligible for compensation if you experienced sexual or physical abuse as a child by an individual affiliated with an institution while under the institution’s care. This could involve various settings such as a church, orphanage, school, youth club, foster home, reformatory school, juvenile detention center, or prison. Individuals associated with an institution include volunteers, religious ministers, foster parents, employees of the institution, or sports coaches.
2. Claim for a Redress Payment under the National Redress Scheme
The National Redress Scheme aims to acknowledge harm done to survivors of sexual abuse and can help survivors of institutional abuse seek:
- A payment calculated based on the type of abuse and the type of institution.
- A further small payment for psychological treatment.
- A request for a personal response from the institution responsible for the abuse, which could include an apology or an explanation of the institution’s current measures to protect children.
The maximum payment under the National Redress Scheme is $150,000, though many survivors may not qualify for the maximum amount. In many cases, the amount received is less than that of a legal claim.
Who Are Eligibility for National Redress Scheme
Not everyone is eligible for the National Redress Scheme. You’re not eligible if:
- The institution hasn’t voluntarily signed up for the scheme.
- You’re not an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- You’re in jail or have ever been sentenced to a jail term of five years or more.
Doconade Lawyers Can Help
At Doconade, our lawyers specialize in compensation claims. Get a free, no-obligation initial interview to assess your situation and discuss the likelihood of a successful claim. Our free, no-obligation 30-minute meeting ensures you understand the compensation process, and if you want to go forward.