Lawyers welcome lifting deeds of release for abuse survivors in Tasmania

29 June 2019
Lawyers for abuse survivors have today welcomed the Tasmanian Government’s announcement to set aside deeds of release and to impose a duty of care on organisations exercising authority over children, saying the reforms were significant in improving access to justice for survivors of abuse.

Maurice Blackburn National Head of Abuse Law Michelle James said the announced reforms were key recommendations of the Royal Commission that would bring Tasmania into line with Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria in ensuring that survivors of abuse received fair compensation for historical harm caused.

“As we have seen with countless survivors, many were forced to accept entirely inadequate settlements from major institutions, including church groups, that also forced them to waive away any future rights to a civil claim,” Ms James said.

“The amounts offered as part of these settlements were in almost all cases harshly minimal and to the benefit of institutions, rather than genuine recognition of harm caused to survivors and the care they may need in future as a result of abuse suffered.

“The lifting of deeds of release is a significant step in addressing this injustice that will ensure that survivors who were forced to accept inadequate settlements can now also bring further civil claims to be compensated appropriately.

“We welcome this and the Tasmanian Government’s announcement to impose a duty of care – both measures are important reforms and we call on other states still yet to act on these to do so with urgency,” she said.

Media inquiries: Jade Thompson at Maurice Blackburn on 0417 969 438

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