Have you experienced serious abuse whilst serving as a member of the military? If so, you may be entitled to damages and / or a reparation payment.

Damages may be sought by commencing a claim against the Australian Defence Force for pain and suffering, financial losses and medical expenses caused as a result of serious abuse.

A reparation payment may be sought first by lodging a complaint of serious abuse with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Once lodged, the Ombudsman may then decide to make an award of financial reparation.

What is serious abuse?

Serious abuse means sexual abuse, serious physical abuse or serious bullying or harassment which occurred between two (or more) people who were employed in Defence at the time.

Am I eligible for a damages payment?

  • Current or former serving member
  • You were a minor at the time (i.e. under the age of 18 or 21 depending on the age of majority at the time of the abuse)
  • You have suffered a permanent injury (physical or psychological)

Am I eligible for a reparation payment?

  • the abuse occurred on or before 30 June 2014
  • the report of abuse was made to the Ombudsman on or before 30 June 2021,
  • The Ombudsman is satisfied the report involves the most serious forms of abuse and/or sexual assault.

You don’t need to be a minor at the time of the abuse however if you were you may have access to redress through the National Redress Scheme

What can I claim for?

  • Non-consensual sexual acts such as rape, sexual contact and initiation ceremonies
  • Serious physical abuse such as bashings, beatings and injury caused by bastardisation
  • Psychological injury caused as a result of serious abuse

How much in damages will I receive?

The amount of damages you receive will vary depending on a number of factors including:

  • Your age at the time of the abuse
  • The type and frequency of abuse you suffered
  • The extent of the injury caused by the abuse
  • The extent the injury has impacted your life such as your pain and suffering, enjoyment of life and earning potential.

How much in reparation will I receive?

There are two possible payments which the Ombudsman may recommend:

  • A payment of up to $45,000 to acknowledge the most serious forms of abuse
  • A payment of up to $20,000 to acknowledge other abuse involving unlawful interference accompanied by some element of indecency.

If the Ombudsman recommends one of these payments, an additional payment of $5,000 may also be recommended where the Ombudsman is satisfied that Defence did not respond appropriately to the incident of abuse

How long do I have to make a claim?

  • A claim for damages is subject to a limitation period applicable to the state where the serious abuse occurred. We recommend contacting us to discuss the time limits applicable to your claim.
  • If you were a child at the time of the serious abuse you may not have a time limit. Most states have removed the time frame for making claims for historical childhood abuse.
  • An application for a reparation payment must be lodged with the Commonwealth Ombudsman prior to 30 June 2021.

How much will it cost to submit my claim?

Here at LHD Lawyers, we understand the stress and trauma that comes from not only being in active service, but then having an injury or illness impact your standard of living. Your current financial position should not be a barrier to you receiving fair and impartial legal advice, which is why we are proud to offer our No Win No Fee arrangement for all of our compensation clients.

What does this mean? No Win No Fee ensures that only if your case is successful will you need to pay our legal fees (which will be agreed up-front). If your claim does not succeed and you do not receive compensation, then you will not be required to pay any legal fees. Please note that you may incur additional costs during your case such as the cost to retrieve medical records or acquire expert reports. You will be fully notified and your approval required before we proceed with any of these.

How do I make a claim?

You may contact us for an obligation free consultation to discuss your eligibility and potential entitlements.