Co-written by Stiphany Yako
Institutional Child Sexual Abuse claims are some of the most complex and difficult matters to navigate for all. There is an expectation on parties involved in the claim to act as model litigants to a high degree, primarily due to the extreme nature and background of institutional abuse claims and the psychological effect on survivors of institutional abuse.
Preparation of these matters requires survivors to provide written testimony to the best of their recollection. We understand the difficulty of our clients recollection of events that may have happened decades ago.
To assist our clients, we take steps to obtain information including government records under Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, medical records and tracking down witnesses. We undertake a diligent process to ensure our requests are being received, responded to and making sure the parties are providing fair and equitable approach to providing this information.
The year 2020 was a difficult challenge with the COVID-19 lockdowns and many organizations including the State Government employees were transitioning to a work at home environment and there were not enough hands on deck to address FOI requests in the usual time frame. These delays have extended throughout the year due to the amount of cases of institutional abuses continue to increase.
Strategies employed to work around this process include adjusting FOI requests to tackle the burdens faced by officers responding to requests, serving preliminary notices of claim to institutions to coordinate responses with representatives and/or legal officers to promote a quicker response to FOI requests.
It is expected the parties involved in Institutional Abuse matters to act as a model litigant and undertake care and consideration for these matters and survivors who are seeking justice. There are guiding principles established by The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but these are guides only and we expect institutions to undertake significant diligence in examining each matter.
The last option would be to issue a Summons in Court, which is a significant step and would require a concise pleadings on the matter. Due to the passage of time, many survivors cannot recall key information and it is vital they provide as much detail as possible and serving proper particulars with a notice of claim before undertaking this option.
The final hurdle is preparing medical evidence. To proceed with a claim, most jurisdictions require a medical report giving a clear diagnosis and the primary factor to this diagnosis should be the incidences of intuitional abuse. Certain jurisdictions also require a threshold assessment to be met. Most survivors have experienced various forms of psychological trauma stemming from their childhood experiences which may impact on their psychological profile and assessment. Many survivors do not speak about their traumatic experiences to medical professionals which also create a difficulty for medical assessors.
It is vital that that proper analysis and the collation of evidence and information be undertaken to prepare a case to the best possible position before entering into litigation and possible negotiations to resolve institutional abuse matters.
Upholding confidentiality, handling complexity and trustworthiness are key aspects you can expect when entrusting your claim to Gajic Lawyers. Our friendly and trusted professionals have an admirable track record in getting our clients the best possible result. Call us today on 0298905885 to speak to one of our professionals.