New laws give NSW abuse survivors access to fair compensation

9 November 2021
Survivors of institutional child abuse – including those who were abused while in youth detention facilities – will be able to overturn inadequate settlement payments under new laws that passed the NSW Parliament today.

The new Civil Liability Amendment (Child Abuse) Bill gives NSW courts the power to set aside unfair settlement agreements for abuse so survivors can bring a civil claim for fairer compensation.

The new laws also remove restrictions that had prevented survivors from bringing civil claims if the abuse had occurred while they were in custody in juvenile justice facilities such as Minda, Cobham and Mount Penang.

Leading abuse law firm Maurice Blackburn welcomed the new laws, saying they were an important step in ensuring survivors were fairly compensated.

Danielle De Paoli, NSW head of abuse law at Maurice Blackburn, said:

“We know that many survivors of historical child abuse felt they had no choice but to accept paltry settlements for the mistreatment they suffered, and to sign deeds of release waiving their rights to a future civil claim.

“These survivors carry lifelong trauma, with many suffering from complex physical and mental health issues because of the abuse. When faced with pressure from an institution to settle a claim, they felt they had no other option.

“Some survivors signed up to payments of as little as $5000 for the abuse that occurred, with deeds that prevented them from speaking out, or going to court for a higher payout.

“These reforms will help improve justice for survivors, and we continue to call on other states who are yet to act on these issues to do so with urgency.”

Media inquiries: Chee Chee Leung at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers 0412 560 584 or cleung@mauriceblackburn.com.au

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