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Abuse Law in Australia: Seeking Justice and Compensation

If you or someone you know has been a victim of abuse in Australia, it is crucial to understand your rights and the legal options available to you for seeking justice. At Dormer Stanhope, we specialise in abuse law and are dedicated in providing comprehensive legal services to survivors of abuse. On this page, we will provide you with an overview of abuse law in Australia and highlight information and legal avenues to help you navigate this complex area of law.

Types of Abuse​

Abuse can take different forms, and it is important to recognise each type to address them appropriately. The main categories of abuse recognised in Australia include:

Physical Abuse. Any intentional use of force causing physical harm, injury, or pain.

Sexual Abuse. Non-consensual sexual activity, including assault, rape, or any sexual contact without consent.

Emotional Abuse. Psychological manipulation, threats, intimidation, humiliation, or any behaviour causing emotional distress.

Financial Abuse. Exploitation of an individual's financial resources or control over their financial affairs without their consent. 

Abuse can also be classified based on the circumstances surrounding the abuse. For example:

Childhood Sexual Abuse. Any sexual activity that involves an adult and a child under the age of 18. It includes acts such as molestation, rape, indecent assault, grooming, and exploitation.

Institutional Abuse. This abuse occurs within institutions and organisations responsible for the care of individuals, such as schools, churches, foster care, residential care and hospitals. Institutional abuse can involve physical, sexual, emotional, or neglectful acts.

Domestic Violence. Any abusive behaviour within an intimate or familial relationship. It can involve physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse, or controlling behaviours.

Legal Options and Remedies

Abuse law in Australia is primarily governed by state and territory legislation, with some federal laws addressing specific forms of abuse, such as child abuse and domestic violence. It is essential to familiarise yourself with the legislation relevant to your situation, as laws can vary between jurisdictions.

Once you have characterised the type of abuse that has occurred, it is important to consider the legal options available to you. Legal remedies may include:

Criminal Proceedings. If you have been a victim of abuse, you have the right to report the incident to the police. Criminal charges may be filed against the abuser, and if found guilty, they can face penalties, including imprisonment.

Civil Lawsuits. Survivors of abuse can pursue civil lawsuits to seek compensation for the harm they have suffered. These lawsuits can be filed against individuals, institutions, or organisations responsible for the abuse. Compensation may cover medical expenses, therapy costs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

Victim Compensation Schemes. Some states and territories have victim compensation schemes that provide financial assistance to victims of crime, including abuse.

Redress Schemes. Australia has established various redress schemes to provide compensation, support, and acknowledgment to survivors of institutional abuse. These schemes aim to streamline the process of seeking redress and provide an alternative to civil litigation.

Restraining Orders. If you are facing ongoing abuse, you can seek a restraining order (also known as an intervention order or apprehended violence order) to protect yourself from further harm. Restraining orders can prohibit the abuser from contacting or approaching you.  

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Support Services

Recovering from abuse can be a challenging and emotionally draining process. Accessing support services is essential for your well-being. In Australia, numerous organisations offer counselling, legal advice, and tailored support to abuse survivors, including:

1800RESPECT National helpline for sexual assault and domestic violence support.

Lifeline Australia 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Bravehearts Organisation dedicated to preventing child sexual assault and providing support for survivors.

Why Choose Us?

At Dormer Stanhope we understand the sensitive nature of abuse cases and the unique challenges survivors face. We listen to your story, respect your confidentiality, and ensure your voice is heard. Our experienced team of lawyers is committed to seeking justice and compensation for survivors of abuse and ensure our clients receive compassionate support throughout the legal process.

Don't wait to seek justice. Contact Dormer Stanhope to schedule a confidential consultation. Our dedicated legal team will provide you with the guidance you need to navigate the legal process and fight for your rights. Remember, you are not alone, and we are here to help you on your journey towards healing and recovery.

Dormer Stanhope helped me navigate through a deeply traumatic experience and obtain the compensation I deserved for the sexual abuse I endured during my time as a student at a private school in Sydney.

I was consistently impressed with their thoroughness and attention to detail in investigating my case. They left no stone unturned, meticulously gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working tirelessly to build a strong and compelling argument on my behalf. Their extensive knowledge of the law and their strategic approach were evident in the positive outcomes we achieved.

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