institutional child abuse.

we assist survivors of child abuse in institutions to bring common law claims for compensation.

Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, survivors now have options to them which weren’t previously available.

These include potential claims for common law damages, a redress application under the National Redress Scheme and various other redress schemes for specific institutions. In some cases, even previous settlements of claims can be re-negotiated.

Survivors now have choices they never had before but it is important that survivors obtain legal advice from lawyers experienced in this area about which is the best option for them, so they don’t choose the wrong path. We provide legal assistance and guidance to survivors of abuse from a wide variety of institutions including:

  • Churches, including the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Uniting Church, United Protestant Association and Presbyterian Church.
  • State run institutions, including boys and girls homes, mission farms, detention centres, training schools and children in foster care
  • Private institutions such as Hopewood Homes.
  • Schools, including state, church and privately run schools.
  • Organisations such as YMCA, Surf Life Saving Australia, local Councils, Scouts.
  • Child migrants.
  • Australian Defence Force.

what factors may affect your ability to make a claim?

Many factors may affect your ability to make a claim, including:

  • Who perpetrated the abuse, and did they act alone or as part of an organisation or institution?
  • Does the institution still exist?
  • When did the abuse occur?
  • What evidence is available about the abuse, and the institution at the time the abuse occurred
  • What impact has the abuse had on your life? Have there been other traumatic events in your life?
  • Do you have eligibility to make a claim under a redress scheme or have you previously received a payment for the abuse?

what are the time limits for making a claim?

Laws in Australia relating to time limits for bringing claims have changed so that there is no longer a limitation period preventing survivors from commencing claims in court. Courts though still have the ability to stop claims from proceeding if institutions can prove that the events happened so far in the past that there is no longer enough evidence available for a court to properly assess the claim.

Whether or not this would prevent claims from going ahead will depend upon the particular circumstances of each claim, and in our experience many institutions are willing to negotiate settlements with survivors even for abuse that happened decades in the past.

Sexual abuse can be a complex area of law, if you think you may have a claim we recommend contacting us so we can advise you on your individual circumstances.

initial consultation.

In order to give you the best legal advice, 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. There will be no charge for the initial consultation if you decide not to proceed with a claim.

costs.

At Donaldson Law, we believe in always being upfront about our costs. If after our initial consultation, you decide to proceed with your claim, you will be charged on a speculative basis.

That means you will only be charged our professional fees and any expenses we have incurred on your behalf, if and when your claim is successfully finalised.

We make the following assurances about our fees and expenses:

  • We do not charge you expenses for telephone calls or other administration expenses.
  • We do not charge an uplift or “success” fee on top of our costs.
  • We do not charge interest on any expenses we incur on your behalf during the claim.

support services.

We encourage you to talk to and rely on the support of family, friends and professional services.