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State Ward and Private Placement Abuse Claims

Ryan Carlisle Thomas can assist you with claims involving wards of the State, and has done so for many years. We can also help with claims involving “private placements”, where children were privately placed into institutional care by their parents or relatives.

Turana, Winlaton and Baltara

Historically, children became wards of the State and were sent into the care because they were deemed by the Children’s Court to be in need of care and protection. The State became their legal guardian. There were various reasons for making children wards of the State, including that they were judged to be “neglected”, “uncontrollable”, “likely to lapse into a life of vice and crime” or “in moral danger”. Unfortunately, many of our clients were abused by the very people who were meant to be responsible for their care and protection.

Ryan Carlisle Thomas was the first law firm to devise and negotiate a protocol with the Victorian Government to settle compensation claims for State wards outside the court system. This protocol helps claimants secure monetary payments and statements of apology, which could otherwise be strenuously resisted in the courts.

There are various options that are available to resolve claims involving wardship, such as taking your matter to court, settling your matter out of court, pursuing a Redress Scheme claim, and other options such as victims of crime claims and Sentencing Act applications. Together we can discuss which option(s) are best suited to your needs.

In terms of claims involving government schools, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is party to the Common Guiding Principles in child sexual abuse claims. These principles provide guidance on how DHHS should ordinarily respond to civil claims involving allegations of child sexual abuse, including that the Department should be mindful of the potential for litigation to be a traumatic experience for claimants who have suffered sexual abuse, should consider facilitating an early settlement and should respond appropriately to civil child sexual abuse claims in a manner that minimises potential further trauma to survivors.

The State of Victoria also follows Model Litigant Guidelines, which are policy guidelines that set standards for how the State should behave as a party to legal proceedings.

Read about the Common Guiding Principles and Model Litigant Guidelines

In August 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held a public hearing or case study into the experiences of former child residents at Turana Youth Training Centre, Winlaton Youth Training Centre and Baltara Reception Centre between the 1960s and early 1990s (case study 30).

Read more about the Royal Commission’s findings from Case Study 30.

Out of home care claims including foster care and Family Group Home

Ryan Carlisle Thomas can assist you with claims involving out of home care, and has done so for many years.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse conducted an inquiry into preventing sexual abuse of children in “out of home care”, which includes foster care, relative or kinship care, family group homes, residential care (“resi-care”) and independent living arrangements.

About 20,000 Australian children currently live in foster care, mostly in group residential care or with foster families. While this modern-day form of care is different to the large institutional facilities of the past, children are still at risk of abuse from carers and other children where there is poor supervision.

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse included an entire volume relating to contemporary out of home care.

Read the Royal Commission’s report relating to Contemporary Out-of-home Care.

If you have been a victim of abuse or know of someone who has, please call us on 1300 366 441 or find us at an office near you.

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