The impact of child sexual abuse can last a lifetime, with survivors often suffering long-term physical and psychological damage. In recognition of this, Australian law allows survivors of child sexual abuse to seek compensation for their suffering. However, a significant barrier is that perpetrators often don’t have enough assets to pay a claim, as the current system allows perpetrators to protect their superannuation from compensation orders, leaving survivors without adequate compensation. This article explores the implications of this loophole and the efforts to close it.
Overview – Child Sexual Abuse Compensation Loophole
Under current Australian law, child sexual abuse survivors can seek compensation from their abusers for the impact of their harm. In cases where the abuser is liable, the court can order them to compensate the survivor. However, many perpetrators take advantage of a loophole in the law that allows them to protect their superannuation from compensation orders.
Superannuation is a retirement savings system in Australia where employers must contribute to an employee’s superannuation account. The funds in these accounts are protected from creditors, including victims seeking compensation. This means that perpetrators can make additional contributions to their superannuation accounts to reduce the funds available for compensation. As a result, survivors who are successful in their claims may still end up without adequate compensation, especially if the perpetrator has no other assets outside of their superannuation account. This loophole leaves survivors without the financial support to rebuild their lives and move forward.
Fortunately, some advocates are working to close this loophole and ensure survivors receive the compensation they are entitled to. One such advocate is Grace Tame, named Australian of the Year in 2021 for raising awareness about child sexual abuse. Tame has been calling for the Australian government to take action to prevent perpetrators from quarantining their assets in their superannuation accounts from compensation orders. Her advocacy has been successful, with the Australian government announcing in 2021 that it is exploring whether to end the superannuation loophole.
The Australian Government Treasury recently opened up a Australian Government Treasury to gather opinions on this matter which has since closed.
The Implications of Closing the Compensation Loophole
Closing the superannuation loophole would have significant implications for survivors of child sexual abuse. It would mean that perpetrators would no longer be able to protect their superannuation from compensation orders, ensuring survivors receive the financial support they need to rebuild their lives. However, closing the loophole is not without its challenges. Some have argued that it could create unintended consequences, such as making it more difficult for perpetrators to pay their debts and support their families or rely more on Government pensions after retirement. Some are concerned that closing the loophole could lead to a rise in bankruptcies and insolvencies. Despite these concerns, advocates argue that closing the loophole is necessary to ensure that survivors of child sexual abuse receive the justice they deserve. They argue that perpetrators should not be allowed to shield their financial assets from compensation orders and that survivors should have access to the full range of financial resources available to their abusers.
The consultation period has now closed. We need to watch this space to see if the Australian Government will take steps to better balance victim’s rights with the final intentions of the superannuation regime.
Support Services for Survivors
If you or someone you know has been impacted by child sexual abuse, it is essential to know that support services are available.
These organisations offer a range of services, including counselling, legal advice, and support for accessing compensation:
Blue Knot Foundation: 1300 657 380 or blueknot.org.au
Bravehearts: 1800 272 831 or bravehearts.org.au
Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN): 1800 008 774 or clan.org.au
National Redress Scheme: 1800 737 377
Evolve Legal – How We Can Help
If you or someone you know has suffered from child sexual abuse, it’s essential to know that you are not alone, and that help is available. Evolve Legal is here to support and guide you through your compensation claim. Our experienced lawyers deeply understand the legal complexities surrounding child sexual abuse cases, and we are committed to providing compassionate and confidential representation to our clients. Don’t suffer in silence – contact us today and take the first step towards getting the justice and compensation you deserve.
Posted in: Latest News
March 23 2023