Lawyers welcome lifting deeds of release for abuse survivors
14 June 2019
Lawyers have today welcomed the Victorian Government's announcement to set aside deeds of release, saying the reform was a significant step in improving access to justice for survivors of abuse.
Maurice Blackburn Victorian head of Abuse LawDimi Ioannou said today's reforms would bring Victoria in line with Queensland and Western Australia in ensuring survivors of abuse could receive fair and appropriate compensation for harm caused.
"As the Royal Commission made clear, many survivors of historical abuse were forced to accept completely inadequate settlements from major institutions and sign deeds as part of this that saw them having to waive their rights to a future civil claim," Ms Ioannou said.
"For many survivors that meant being left with little option but to accept compensation that had been harshly minimised in favour of churches or institutions - with survivors forced into inadequate schemes far below what they deserved and without proper advice regarding their legal rights.
"The reforms announced today are a significant step in seeking to address this injustice, including importantly ensuring that survivors who were forced to accept inadequate settlements can now also bring a further civil claim to be compensated appropriately.
"We welcome this announcement that will help to enhance access to justice for survivors and continue to call on other states still yet to act on this reform to do so with urgency," she said.