At IM Lawyers we understand that the prospect of making a claim for compensation for child sexual or physical abuse which, in most cases occurred many years ago, can be a daunting one, to say the least. We have a dedicated team of abuse lawyers with significant experience in working with survivors of abuse against organisations like church’s, sporting groups, schools and other institutions. Claiming and maximising the compensation for abuse survivors is an important step in the process of holding individuals and organisations to account.

Who can be held accountable for historical child abuse?

Historical sexual and physical abuse has occurred across a range of institutions over the years:

  • churches;
  • in state care and private orphanages;
  • schools, public and private;
  • sporting clubs;
  • community groups;
  • youth groups;
  • foster carers;
  • children’s homes;
  • detention centres; and

Survivors of abuse can bring a claim for compensation against any of these institutions and/or the individuals who had duty of care during the period of abuse.

Call us for FREE advice:   1800 001 339

What compensation is available for survivors of child abuse?

There is a variety of compensation options open to survivors of historical abuse.

These include:

  1. a common law claim (due to negligence);
  2. the National Redress Scheme; and
  3. options to revisit previously settled matters.

Common law claims for survivors of child abuse

The main way we assist survivors of abuse is to represent them in a common law claim for damages under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld). 

The result of a common law claim, in most instances, is a monetary payment to the claimant (the survivor) to compensate them for things such as:

  1. pain and suffering;
  2. economic loss including their loss of salary or wages and any loss of ability to pursue a more substantial income; and
  3. medical expenses including the cost of psychiatry/psychology or other therapy treatment and medications.

Generally, this action will be against the institution that was responsible for the care of the survivor when the abuse occurred. Sometimes an action against the perpetrator themselves will be possible. 

IM Lawyers will be able to listen to your story and help you understand who (or which institution) your action may be made against.

National Redress Scheme for survivors of child abuse

The National Redress Scheme was created following recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It can provide victims with the opportunity to receive a redress payment, access counselling and psychological care and receive a response (for example, an apology and recognition of the wrongdoing) from the responsible institution.

To obtain compensation under the National Redress Scheme, organisations against whom a claim is being made must be registered with and participating in the scheme.   

Institutions currently participating in the Scheme include all Commonwealth Government institutions and Queensland Government institutions.  Many church groups, schools and community groups are also participants in the National Redress Scheme.

It is important that survivors speak with a lawyer before they settle their claim through the Redress Scheme.  They can then properly understand whether any other compensation option may be more appropriate for that person and their circumstances. In many situations, alternate options may deliver greater compensation.  Notably, survivors are unable to make a common law claim for compensation if they have sought compensation through the National Redress Scheme.

Revisiting previous settlements of your child abuse claim

In some specific circumstances, survivors of abuse may be able to have their previous settlement for the abuse revisited to ensure it compensates them properly.  In some instances, any prior settlement could be set aside or increased with proper legal assistance.

Are there time limits for abuse compensation claims?

Another recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse which has now been actioned by most states and territories is to remove the time limit for a survivor of child sexual abuse to sue for that abuse. 

Previously, survivors of child sexual abuse only had until their 21st birthday to begin their common law claim for compensation.  Now, this limit no longer exists, allowing more survivors access to much needed compensation to assist with the long-lasting effects of that abuse.

How can we help you?

Whether subjected to abuse within a church, foster care, school (including government or state schools), sporting club, scouts organisation or other public or private place, our job is to ensure your views are heard and that your case is receiving proper expert attention right through to its conclusion.

​Our dedicated legal team have been involved in abuse claims for over 20 years. 

We frequently consult with barristers (and father of our Legal Practitioner Director, Luke Ingham-Myers) Mr Robert Myers.

Robert Myers was the barrister at the vanguard, taking the fight up to the church (who ran the prestigious private school, Anglican College and Preparatory School) on behalf of his client in the real-life case which has now been depicted in the movie "Don't Tell".

This was at a time when the common view was that an individual cannot win against the power and might of an institution. This case changed everything for survivors of historical abuse.

Our close association with Mr Myers, at both a personal and professional level, affords us with significant expertise and experience to enable us to guide you along the path to prosecuting abuse cases, in particular those involving institutions.

How we charge

We accept cases on a no-win-no-fee basis but importantly we can also assist to meet the costs of obtaining the necessary medical and other evidence needed to conduct your matter through to a successful conclusion. You can learn more about how we charge here.

Call us for a no-obligation chat about your potential claim. It costs you nothing to find out where you stand.

Call now to arrange an initial free consultation

1800 001 339

It costs you nothing to find out where you stand.

In compensation law matters we operate under a no win, no fee model, as plaintiff solicitors and barristers have done so for decades.

This means that if we accept you as a client:

  • We will not charge you upfront fees;
  • If you lose your case, you will not pay our fees.
  • If you win your case, you will be required to pay our fees which will, ordinarily, be taken out of any compensation benefits you receive or will be claimed on top of the compensation from the insurer.

Latest blogs - Abuse Claims

Do I sue the school or the teacher for child abuse at school?

Do I sue the school or the teacher for child abuse at school?

When an abuse survivor contacts us about the possibility of recovering compensation due to sexual, physical and/or psychological abuse at school, they often think they’ll be suing the individual teacher or staff member who abused them. In fact, historical abuse survivors will actually sue the school and not the teacher or staff member personally.
Read more
Information your lawyer will need to start your personal injury claim

Information your lawyer will need to start your personal injury claim

It can sometimes be overwhelming when you first engage a personal injury lawyer, just how much information they require. It’s helpful to understand what information your lawyer will seek early on in your personal injury claim.
Read more

Abuse survivor takes case to the High Court after NSW Court of Appeal orders a permanent stay

Many institutions responsible for perpetrating child abuse are trying to escape the need to provide justice through compensation to those survivors. One way they are doing this is by asking the Court to effectively ‘throw out’ a survivor’s legitimate claim. But one survivor, ‘GLJ’, decided enough was enough and, in early July 2023, took her case against the Catholic Church to the High Court of Australia.
Read more
Court of Appeal upholds decision to permanently stay abuse compensation claim

Court of Appeal upholds decision to permanently stay abuse compensation claim

Joanne Willmot, a survivor of child sexual and physical abuse, brought a claim for compensation against the State of Queensland, due to abuse as a minor in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. The matter went to the Supreme Court which ordered a permanent stay of proceedings. An appeal saw that original decision upheld.
Read more