Sexual Abuse Compensation

Coming forward as a victim of abuse is emotionally and personally challenging. Financial compensation will not change what happened, but it can represent some acknowledgement of the wrong that has occurred.

The case of Dr Andrew Churchyard, a neurologist from Melbourne, highlights that many victims of abuse do not realise that what is happening to them isn’t normal. In most instances, former patients alleging sexual misconduct by the doctor have never told anyone about their interactions with him.

More than 80 former patients of the doctor have now been contacted in relation to the future conduct of compensation claims. If you have not received a letter or you wish to register, please contact us on (03) 9321 9879 or email churchyard@alil.com.au.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

In September 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that the Australian Government establish a national redress scheme for survivors. In November 2016, the Turnbull Government confirmed their commitment to this recommendation with the announcement of a Commonwealth Redress Scheme.

In the 2017/18 budget, the Turnbull government announced funding of $33.4 million to the Commonwealth Redress Scheme. The scheme, set to launch in mid-2018, offers victims counselling, apologies from the responsible organisation and financial compensation.

The amount of compensation payable to victims is determined upon the severity of abuse and impact on the victims life. Payments will be made up to $150,000.

In addition, from March 2018 a dedicated telephone helpline and website will be established to inform survivors about the scheme and how to apply for payments.

The Government is unable to force participation into the scheme, but it is hoped that once it has gone live that other bodies will join. Entities and States who join will be required to pay out eligible claims against them.

“The Coalition’s commitment to deliver on a national scheme is a significant step towards helping survivors get their lives back on track,” says Partner, Bree Knoester. “The Victorian Government should also be applauded for their dedication to abuse survivors and their commitment to the implementation of a scheme to date.”

How does the claims process work?

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, it is important to speak to a doctor about what happened and seek legal advice.  Abuse should also be reported to the police.

Acting for many victims of abuse, Partner Bree Knoester guides her clients through the legal process with consistent and carefully considered advice. For a confidential discussion, you can contact Bree on her direct telephone number (03) 9321 9879.