In December 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was delivered to the Governor General. As a result, legal reforms were made allowing survivors to make a claim for compensation, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
Sexual assault is a traumatic and life-changing experience. The psychological scars can be persistent and extremely difficult to face. It is often challenging for victims of sexual assault to take the steps towards seeking legal support and financial compensation. We know that compensation following sexual assault cannot take away the distress, but we also know that it allows victims the opportunity to seek medical services and psychological support, to recover lost income and cover living expenses, and to take important steps towards ensuring safety. Furthermore, a sexual assault compensation payment can be a recognition of the trauma suffered.
In New South Wales, a claim can be commenced by informing the police or by making a common law claim. By informing the police, they will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to charge the alleged perpetrator. If the police decide that there is enough evidence, they will charge that person, and the matter is commenced in the Criminal Jurisdiction. In proceeding in this manner, you can make a claim under the Victims Rights and Support Act, which provides some financial assistance, counselling and payment in recognition of the trauma you have suffered. The amount of financial assistance is not a lot. The legal threshold that a Judge or Jury needs to establish to find a person guilty is “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”.
By making a common law claim, if you are successful, you will be compensated for a range of damages which far exceed victims assistance. However, if you decide to commence criminal proceedings, you cannot seek a common law claim until after the criminal proceedings.
It is important to make the right decision for you. At Longton Legal, we have expert lawyers who have worked with people who have experienced years of trauma through abuse. We can help you make the tight decision. Contact us today.
*Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice beforetaking any course of action.*
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