EVENT: CUTS TO VICTIMS COMPENSATION victims of crime and their advocates respond

The NSW Government has announced its bill to completely overhaul the NSW Victims Compensation Scheme. Their bill is called the victims rights and support bill – it is available here.

My office has been contacted by many members of legal services, survivors organisations and individuals already expressing their concerns about the changes.130510 Victims Compensation Cuts Event Invite

The principal concerns include that:

–          The legislation places a 10 year limit on making claims for compensation payments. Given the time it takes many victims of childhood sexual abuse to come forward, many of these people will be no longer eligible for even the nominal payments offered by the scheme.

–          The schedules placing defined figures on classes of compensation will mean that many victims of long standing domestic abuse will receive payments of only $1,500 – if they receive any payments at all under the new criteria.

We are holding a public forum to discuss concerns about these changes, and will also be inviting all members of Parliament to be present to hear the views of the community.

Details of the forum as follows: 

Speakers include: victims of crime, their advocates & legal experts.

Hosted by Greens MP David Shoebridge

Wednesday 15 May 2013

2pm—4pm

Waratah Room, NSW Parliament House

Macquarie Street, Sydney

Contact: 9230 3030 for more information or email kym.chapple@parliament.nsw.gov.au

 

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3 Responses to EVENT: CUTS TO VICTIMS COMPENSATION victims of crime and their advocates respond

  1. Genevieve Elliott May 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    I have spent much of today emailing politicians and media agencies regarding these changes. I find the changes absolutely disgusting, as they serve to revictimise the victims, and to protect paedophiles and politicians only. My children and I lodged claims in late 2011, at which time we were told that the children were each eligible for payments of up to $50,000 and I was eligigible for up to $10,000. We were also told that it would take 12 to 18 months to process the applications. More recently,we were told that a back log had pushed that time period out to 31 months. I am now fairly sure that the “back log” was contrived by the government to allow them time to sneak these changes in. In a world where we have to allow things as simplistic as neighbours opinions before building a garden shed, why were stakeholders not consulted before implementing changes as damaging as these? My children and I now stand to receive virtually if not literally nothing, how do I explain that to 3 children who endured being sexually, physically, emotionally and psychologically tortured for 12 long years by a man they should have been able to trust? Where is the justice? It’s bad enough that the sentences currently being handed down are an absolute insult, now they are taking away compensation also. I cannot attend this event unfortunately but I wish you all the very best

  2. Genevieve Elliott May 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Dear Mr O’Farrell
    I wish to express my deep distress and disgust at the recent changes to compensation for victims of child sexual assault. My three children were systematically raped abused and tortured for 12 years by a man they should have been able to trust. In late 2011, claims were lodged for compensation on their behalf and at that time we were advised that they would be eligible for anything from $7,500 to $50,000 and that the processing time would take 12 to 18 months. In the intervening time we have had to deal with huge emotional pain, massive trauma, mental and physical illness and having to move home. As I am on a disability pension from the damage done by several assaults in my own life (for which I have never sought compensation), we do not have medical costs to claim, however, that makes our case no less traumatic. A few months ago we were advised that a backlog in claims meant that it would now take approx. 31 months from time of lodgement for these claims to be processed. I ask you Mr O’Farrell, was that “backlog” construed to allow the government time to push these changes through, with zero stakeholder consultation, so that the government could save as much money as possible? Congratulations on effectively falling to the standard of the paedophiles themselves, I apologise if you are offended by that wording, however, you have just callously re-victimised all victims. The only people served and protected by these changes are politicians and paedophiles, when will someone finally have the back bone to stand up for our children Mr O’Farrell? Will it be you or must we all suffer in silence for a few more years, decades, centuries? Have you or your colleagues ever had to take a pay cut, ever not been able to pay a bill, feed and cloth your children without the assistance of charities? Have you ever had to live a nightmare from which there is no waking up? We are not a minority Mr O’Farrell, and we will not just go away, especially not when the system which purports to serve us actually serves itself and our abusers. We demand answers, we demand justice and we recognise that you can ignore written correspondence, however, can you ignore peaceful protests on your doorstep and media attention? Especially with an election looming?
    Outraged victim trying to be a survivor
    Genevieve Elliott
    I sent this email to the Premier earlier today

  3. Jennifer Herrick May 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    David Please read this out at the event tomorrow:

    I find this move by NSW Parliament extraordinary. Actually I am outraged and very disappointed. While States in America have been gradually winding back their Statutes of Limitation clauses to allow victims to come forward when they are ready, NSW has done the reverse! Let’s be clear about sexual abuse and exploitation, particularly when perpetrated within the Catholic clerical culture: victims take a long long time to realise and recognise that they are just that; victims. The trauma of what a victim experiences, be they child or adult, is so great that most do bury the experience for a very long time and do not allow themselves (as a form of self protection) to face what has happened for a very long time. The norm is about twenty years. I can testify to this from personal experience. One goes through a betrayal phase, a burial phase, and finally, upon regognition of what has occurred, ie gross abuse of power and sexual exploitation, one finds the courage to come forward, reveal the perpetrator and begin the period of personal resurrection phase. This entire process can take between 20 and 40 years. NSW parliamentarians need to get some expert psychological advice on the incredible harm they are going to cause by forbidding the majority of victims, who will take much longer than 10 years to come forward, to be offered justice. As I said at the beginning, I find this Statute Of Limitations outrageous and a mere money saving exercise. Most victims will now be revictimised if this Bill is passed. And I thought we were finally getting somewhere with all this! Wishful thinking or more naivety on my part it seems. sigh.