Govt cracks down on sexual abusers hiding assets in super

20 January 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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The Government is seeking views into two draft proposals to allow victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to access the superannuation of their offender.

These proposals sought to support victims and survivors to access redress by preventing offenders from shielding their assets in the super system.

The first proposal would allow victims and survivors to release ‘additional’ contributions from an offender or spouse’s super to satisfy an unpaid compensation order.

A second one aimed to improve transparency and reduce the cost and complexity of pursuing compensation by providing visibility of super accounts to ascertain the value of these ‘additional’ contributions made by an offender.

Courts would also be entitled to access Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data about offenders’ super accounts, which would provide better transparency to victims of their assets.

Minister for financial services, Stephen Jones, said: “Child abuse survivors and their advocates have long campaigned for these changes. The government will act quickly to close this loophole.

“Together, these changes will leave offenders no place to hide their assets and no way of avoiding compensating their victims."

Currently, there were three avenues through which a victim or survivor of crime could seek compensation:

• State and territory compensation schemes – where the state or territory, rather than the offender, pays compensation directly to a victim or survivor of crime;

• Compensation or reparation orders handed down as part of, or subsequent to, the sentencing process in a criminal proceeding – requiring the offender to pay the victim or survivor; and

• Civil action pursued by the victim or survivor against an offender or alleged offender for damages – requiring the offender to pay the victim or survivor.

The closing date for submissions was 16 February, 2023.

If you are affected by any issues in this story or the Government's discussion paper, contact Lifeline on 13 11 44,  Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT.

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