Kiwi abused as a child in Australia fights for compensation

Kiwi seeks Australian compensation
A sexual abuse survivor is fighting to change an Australian law preventing foreigners from seeking compensation (Photo: 123RF).

Oz Kiwi opinion

At first, we thought this couldn’t be correct and that there must have been some mistake.

However, some further investigation has revealed that support under the National Redress Scheme for those who have suffered institutional sex abuse as children will, indeed, be limited to those who are Australian citizens, permanent visa holders, and protected SCV holders. These limitations are set out very clearly in the legislation that established the Scheme.

It would appear that if you are a non-protected Kiwi or a Kiwi who has since left Australia, you will receive no support from the Australian Government in seeking redress for the abuse you suffered in Australian institutions.

This has to be one of the most callous exclusions introduced since 2001.

Whilst individuals of a multitude of nationalities could be affected by this exclusion, it is very likely that New Zealanders will be disproportionately affected due to their unique immigration status.

Dunedin man who was abused as a child in Australia fights for compo rights

26 July 2018

Tess Brunton – Radio NZ

A Dunedin sexual abuse survivor is fighting to change an Australian law preventing foreigners from seeking compensation.

Under the National Redress Scheme, Australian survivors of sexual abuse in state care can make claims, but non-residents can’t.

However, it has not stopped Darryl Smith from contacting the leaders of New Zealand and Australia in a bid to change the scheme.

Earlier this week, he filed a statutory declaration and sent a letter urging Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to act.

“I didn’t realise I had to be a resident of Australia to be raped,” Mr Smith said.

“The Australian government has duty of care to all students who were in state care.”

He was sexually abused while he was a state ward in Queensland and was abused while in New Zealand.

Mr Smith described his fight for support as “re-traumatising”.

“It’s actually so upsetting for me that I’ve had to go back to taking medication again for trauma,” he said.

The scheme was created following recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

It is meant to acknowledge the abuse suffered by many children in Australian institutions, hold the guilty to account and help survivors gain support.

When asked whether the eligibility criteria would change, a Department of Social Services spokesperson said the scheme was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and survivors had to be Australian citizens or permanent residents at the time of application.

“People have always retained the option to pursue civil litigation.”

Mr Smith said the redress had to be for all survivors of child sexual abuse.

“We don’t want a stupid reply back saying that’s because the Bill has been passed. A Bill can be changed at any time.”

Mr Smith’s fight has been backed by Male Survivors Aotearoa national advocate Ken Clearwater. He said it was unfair New Zealand abuse survivors could not seek the same compensation.

“It’s a common occurrence that, for some reason, they haven’t been able to access the redress.”

Mr Smith has a message for the Australian and New Zealand prime ministers: “Wake up, help your survivors no matter which country they live in.”

The scheme was officially opened for applications on 1 July 2018.

[Read the Radio NZ article].

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