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Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers Secures Ex-Gratia Payments For Abuse Claims Against NSW South Coast Historical Entity That Closed In 1993

Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers Secures Ex-Gratia Payments For Abuse Claims Against NSW South Coast Historical Entity That Closed In 1993

Published on December 10, 2020 by Maithri Panagoda AM and Hayley AldrichMaithri Panagoda AM and Hayley Aldrich

Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Hayley Aldrich & Maithri Panagoda AM have secured settlements for ten (10) clients for historical abuse claims against a NSW Institutional entity that ceased trading nearly 30 years ago.

The Firm’s clients detailed in statutory declarations claims of abuse they suffered at a children’s Home run by the entity.  The Home, located in the Shoalhaven district of New South Wales, was open from 1908-1980. Carroll & O’Dea’s clients were residents of the facility as children for many years, ranging between 1955 -1980. Some of these clients were in the Home from infancy until the age of 17 years old.

The settlement deed prevents naming the institution.

Treatment suffered by Carroll & O’Dea’s clients within the Institution included gross mistreatment, such as beatings, with-holding of food, physical abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. As a result of the abuse, the clients claimed ongoing psychological injury.

“Significantly complicating any pursuit of damages on behalf of our clients was that the responsible entity – which today has few assets of no value – ceased trading in October 1993 and was incorporated into a new legal entity with no involvement in the former children’s home”, said Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Hayley Aldrich and Maithri Panagoda.

“Accordingly, after investigations and enquiries we commenced in October 2018 the new entity conveyed their opinion that they held no legal liability in regard to our clients claims.

“Despite the new entity maintaining this position, we continued to negotiate with this new entity for many months, including providing Statutory Declarations from our clients regarding the treatment they suffered at the Home that was run by the old entity being provided.

“After many months of negotiations on behalf of our clients, in late June 2020 the new entity finally offered an ex-gratia offer to each of our clients.

“Due to the fact that the liable entity was defunct, non-operational and had no monies to its name, and that the new entity initially refused to engage in the alternative dispute resolution process, this conclusion is one that has been very much welcomed by our clients. As one of them noted:

“Knowing the difficulties that there were legally, I’m very happy with how my claim turned out. I felt so supported that I have asked Hayley to be my support person for my National Redress Scheme application”.

“Importantly this outcome also demonstrates that it is never too late to seek redress from institutions, even those that are now no longer operating”, said Ms. Aldrich and Mr. Panagoda

Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers Hayley Aldrich – 9 News Interview 

Video courtesy of 9 News Illawarra

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