Thursday, 22 November 2018
The Law Society of Western Australia has expressed its support for a proposed amendment to the National Redress Bill, which is the subject of debate today in the WA Legislative Council.
Part 4 of the Bill proposes to bar survivors of child sexual abuse from applying for criminal injuries compensation if they have already received redress. The Opposition has proposed an amendment on the basis that the Bill as presently drafted is unfair, because redress and criminal injuries compensation are distinct from one another. The amendment instead proposes to allow victims to retain their existing statutory right to claim criminal injuries compensation for the losses they have suffered.
Law Society President Hayley Cormann said, “The Law Society supports a nationally consistent redress scheme. Were the Bill to pass in its current form, Western Australia would stand alone as the only State in which an applicant would be unable to receive criminal injuries compensation if they accept a redress payment. This would create a lack of consistency in how survivors of child sexual abuse across Australia access compensation.”
“It would result in an unfair situation in which survivors of child sexual abuse in Western Australia are disadvantaged in comparison to their counterparts in other parts of the country. The Law Society therefore urges the WA Parliament to incorporate the proposed amendment to the Bill,” Ms Cormann said.
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About us: The Law Society of Western Australia is the peak professional association for lawyers in the State. The Society is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the representation of its more than 4,000 members. The Society enhances the legal profession through its position as a respected leader and contributor on law reform, access to justice and the rule of law. The Society is widely acknowledged by the legal profession, government and the community as the voice of the legal profession in Western Australia.