we can help you prepare, draft, lodge and manage your defence reparation claim.
In December 2017, the Department of Defence announced a revised Defence reparation payment scheme for survivors of Defence abuse in the ADF through the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The new scheme offers survivors a second chance to apply for a reparation payment, following the Defence Abuse Reparation Taskforce (DART) led scheme, which had previously closed to survivors.
The revised redress scheme is also less restrictive to other proposed schemes, as there are no age restrictions on when the abuse occurred, which opens the opportunity up to a much wider group of Defence survivors.
Features of the new Defence Reparation Scheme include:
- No requirement for survivors to have reported the matter to Defence previously, so survivors who have been reluctant to speak up and come forward in the past can still do so.
- Payments under the scheme are expected to commence from early 2018.
- Survivors have up until 30 June 2021 to lodge a complaint and make an application for a reparation payment.
- Survivors can apply for up to $45,000 for the most serious forms of abuse, or a payment of up to $20,000 to acknowledge other abuse involving unlawful interference accompanied by some element of indecency.
- Survivors have the opportunity to participate in the Restorative Engagement Program that provides survivors with that vital acknowledgement and apology that they deserve.
who can make a claim under the scheme?
Any member of the Australian Defence Force, both currently serving and former members of Defence, can make a claim for reparation under the scheme. It also allows Australian Public Service employees or contractors deployed overseas to make a claim, as long as their work was in connection with Defence activities.
does it matter where I served in the ADF?
No, it doesn’t. Donaldson Law are helping survivors across a wide range of the ADF, including army, navy and air force. Donaldson Law are currently working with survivors from institutions such as HMAS Leeuwin, Nirimba, Cerberus and Balcombe, to name a few.
do I need a lawyer to make a claim for a reparation payment?
No, but it does help. Donaldson Law work with hundreds of survivors of abuse and have a great deal of experience representing Defence abuse survivors. For this reason, we know how to prepare and submit your claim to ensure nothing is missed, that you have the best possible chance of receiving the highest reparation payment and the best access to other things such as counselling.
Donaldson Law will take the time to sit down and understand your story and then we will manage the whole process on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about it.
when did the abuse have to occur in order for me to make an application?
The revised scheme has abolished age restrictions on survivors, which is very positive. In order to make an application for reparation under this scheme, the abuse must have occurred on or before 30 June 2014. Survivors who were children at the time the abuse occurred, can still make a claim under this scheme.
how much can survivors claim under the new scheme?
Under the revised Defence Reparation Scheme, abuse survivors can claim up to $45,000 for serious forms of abuse or a payment of up to $20,000 to acknowledge other forms of abuse. There is also an option for small further payments of up to $5000, depending on your circumstances. We will discuss this with you in more detail and work out what exactly you should apply for.
is this a compensation claim?
No, it isn’t. This is a ‘reparation payment’ so it does not affect any other rights which a survivor might have or any other schemes they may be entitled to.
when will the application process open?
The Department of Defence has announced that survivors could be entitled to receive payments in early 2018.
who makes the decision about whether I am eligible for the reparation payment or not?
Under the new redress scheme, the Defence Force Ombudsmen has been given the power to recommend the payments to survivors of abuse.
can survivors access counselling or just the reparation payment?
The Defence Ombudsman has announced that counselling is available to survivors who report serious abuse claims. It may even be possible to receive a referral for counselling before the final assessment is made on your claim, if urgent support is needed.
In order to advise you, we need to hear your story. We realise it is important that you feel comfortable sharing your story. We are happy to meet with you at a place and time suitable for you. We can meet face to face, by Skype or telephone. You will not be charged for this initial consultation.