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Fighting back on Institutional Physical or Sexual Abuse

For good reason, it is a delicate subject, and one the legal system takes very seriously.

All children in the care of an institution or organisation have the right to protection and reasonable care at all times.

Where that care has been compromised, as compensation lawyers we feel we have a duty to our clients to seek justice and recover what they are entitled to.

While it is no panacea for the hurt caused, it is one important step in the healing process.

Change for good

Legislative changes took effect in March 2020 which saw the definition of abuse extend to include serious physical and psychological abuse, as well as sexual abuse.

These changes to the Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019, brings Queensland in line with New South Wales and Victoria.

With amendments to The Limitation of Actions, the prior three-year limitation period that would have ordinarily applied to civil compensation claims for institutional physical or sexual abuse is waived.

Cases of child abuse can be historical, may have occurred more recently or could be currently happening to a child you know.

Institutional child sexual or physical abuse can take place in childhood education and care settings, public and private schools, care settings including residential, foster and kinship care services, sporting clubs and venues, faith-based and religious settings such as churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and their associated activities, health-care and medical settings and situations, Government departments including child protection services, justice, health and social services, as well as military and defence forces.

What should you do if you expect an instance of institutional physical or sexual abuse is, or has, occurred?

If you suspect inappropriate conduct is currently taking place, advise the appropriate authorities, such as police, immediately.

If you believe abuse may have taken place in the past to yourself or someone you know, the best course of action is to relay the incident in confidence to a specialist in the compensation legal field who can advise on how to move forward.  

Anyone who has sustained injuries because of physical or sexual abuse may have the right to claim compensation from the institution responsible for providing care.

Psychological injury is recognised by law as a damage able to be claimed, and if you have suffered injuries including psychological injuries, you may be able to lodge a compensation claim.

Our specialist legal team have managed a range of institutional physical or sexual abuse claims with compassion, understanding and in confidence.

What do I need to do to make an Institutional Physical or Sexual Abuse Claim?

Institutional physical or sexual abuse claims navigate around a complex area of law, with certain evidence guidelines required.

Every claim is different, and the entitlements vary from case to case.

The best way for us to assess your claim is to meet with you to explore the elements of your claim and discuss what is possible to proceed in making an institutional physical or sexual abuse claim.

What can I claim for?

Physical or sexual abuse can leave a lifetime of trauma and emotional pain, increase risk of mental health issues and impact on all areas of your life including career and relationships.

When you make a claim for institutional physical or sexual abuse, we will help you recover what you are entitled to.

You may be able to claim for pain and suffering, lost past and future earnings (including your superannuation), past and future medical expenses, care that has been, or will be, provided by family and/or friends, as well as anticipated treatment or rehabilitation.

If you have any queries or want to learn more about the claim process, refer to our Frequently Asked Questions about physical or sexual abuse claims or reach out to us for a respectful, confidential conversation about your case.

While pursuing institutional physical or sexual abuse claims can be a sensitive and complex process, it is nonetheless a cathartic step towards recovery and can help you (or someone you know) accept you were not at fault for the abuse caused.

If this article has raised emotional or mental health issues, please phone Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.

Institutional Physical or Sexual Abuse
Our team are extensively skilled compensation law experts who care about your outcome and help you to get your life back on track. Whatever your situation is – our legal team will assist you with managing your legal claims and simplifying the process for you.

- Robert O’Neil - Director & Principal

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