EVENT: Cuts to Victims Compensation NEWCASTLE EMERGENCY FORUM

Victims of crime and their advocates respond. 130515 Victims Compensation Cuts Event Invite

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.

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

Monday 20 May 2013

6pm—8pm

Newcastle Room, Newcastle City Hall 

290 King Street, Newcastle 

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

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2 Responses to EVENT: Cuts to Victims Compensation NEWCASTLE EMERGENCY FORUM

  1. Jennifer Herrick May 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    David, please read this out at the Newcastle Forum with my name attached.

    I am a victim of clerical abuse of power. It took me 22 years to allow myself to recognise what had occurred and go to Towards Healing NSW. Even then, after another 19 months, the perpetrator was restored to full duty and I had to go public in January this year to achieve justice. He now has had his faculties removed.

    The NSW Victims Rights and Support Bill proposes a statute of limitations for people claiming compensation for violence including child abuse, sexual abuse and / or sexual assault. Under the legislation, applications must be made within ten years of the act or, if the victim was a child when it occurred, within ten years after they turn 18.

    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. Victims go through the betrayal phase, then the burial phase, and finally, upon recognition of what has occurred, ie gross abuse of power and sexual exploitation, 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. Such a Statute Of Limitations is outrageous and a mere money saving exercise.

    This Bill is for an Act 2013 designed to replace the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996. Most victims will now be revictimised if this Bill is passed. This Bill needs to be defeated before it gets past its first print:

  2. Anon May 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi

    I was sexually abused as a small boy over a number of years. I am now 50 and did not speak to anyone about this for nearly 40 years. I still can’t speak of this publicly [even to my family]. I hope that one day I will be able to somehow put it behind me and get past much of the trauma I have undergone.

    Sexual abuse of children is a serious crime. To exclude these victims from accessing victims compensation is a failure to understand the nature of the crime and the needs of the victims. This totally flies in the face of the objectives of the original legislation. The government needs to either understand this or make it clear that they are only interested in saving money by not supporting victims of sexual abuse.

    I live in Newcastle but are unable to bring myself to attend this forum. Even now I am struggling with writing this but I can’t ignore the injustice being proposed. Please ensure comments such as mine are heard at the forum.

    Thanks