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Abuse Law

Coming to terms with emotional, physical, or sexual abuse can be an incredibly difficult process and last a lifetime. While no amount of money can take away the pain the abuse has caused, compensation may be available to help you access the care and support services you need.

Due to restrictions in Queensland (QLD) and Western Australia (WA) we are prohibited from showing people in those states certain information regarding our legal services. If you are located in QLD or WA please click here for information on abuse law.

Abuse claim lawyers

At Shine Lawyers, we have a team of abuse law experts who are here to listen to you, act on your behalf and help you to access the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers will do all they can to make sure the compensation process is as simple as possible, and will strive to obtain the outcomes that truly matter to you and your loved ones.

We have experience running a wide range of abuse claims, including where individuals were subjected to abuse within:

  • Church or Church-run institutions
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Child care centres
  • After-school care centres
  • The workplace
  • Medical service centres and rooms
  • Public places
  • State and Federal Government Departments
  • Australian Defence Force
  • Juvenile detention centres
  • Immigration Detention Centres

Sexual Harassment

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

While most sexual harassment cases occur in the workplace, sexual harassment can also happen in public and private settings including school, university, sports teams, online or over the phone.

Sexual harassment may include physical or verbal acts such as inappropriate advances, intrusive questions, inappropriate comments, staring, touching, sexually explicit messages, requests for sex or unwanted date requests, physical assault, indecent exposure and stalking.

Our Abuse Law team

We have a dedicated team of abuse claim experts who collectively possess over 90 years of experience in abuse law. Our lawyers specialise in providing legal advice and guidance to survivors of abuse, standing as a voice for clients, and helping them access justice and acknowledgement for the wrongdoing they have suffered.

To ensure every abuse survivor is supported and provided with compassionate and competent legal representation the team is comprised of carefully selected members, all of whom are trained in trauma awareness. Read more about our team of abuse law experts in the FAQs below.

Legal support and service

With a strong understanding of the fragile state many abuse survivors are in, our lawyers recognise the importance of ensuring all litigation is run in a respectful and empathetic manner. Wherever possible, we endeavour to find alternatives to the stress and expense of traditional litigation and explore methods of resolving claims that are more sensitive to the specific needs of our clients.

It's our belief that everyone has the right to stand up against injustice regardless of their financial situation. That's why we offer to work for you on a No Win No Fee* basis. You won’t pay any legal fees unless we are successful in getting you compensation.

*Conditions apply

For more information on what's involved in bringing a compensation claim, watch our step-by-step guide below.

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Claim assessment process where we will explain all of the options available to you

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No Win No Fee arrangement

Common Questions

If you have been sexually abused, or know somebody who has, our abuse claims solicitors can help. Our legal team will walk you through the legal process and will be there to help you every step of the way.

Laws across that States and Territories of Australia vary and chance over time. Accordingly, the process of bringing a claim will vary widely depending upon the particular circumstances of the case.

The first step of the process is to make contact with a legal expert who has the appropriate experience in sexual and historical abuse matters. Should you decide to proceed with Shine’s Survivor Litigation team, we will take into account all of the evidence required and provide you with guidance regarding your particular situation.


We will take the time required to fully explain the legal process to you and your family if necessary, so that you understand your rights and hopefully can regain some control through what can be an incredibly tough ordeal.

We will look at all the options that are available to you. These may include commencing civil litigation, or approaching the organisation concerned directly to engage in informal negotiations outside of the court process.

Wherever possible we will endeavour to find alternatives to the stress and expense of traditional litigation, and will explore with institutions methods of resolving claims that are more sensitive to the specific needs of abuse survivors.

Compensation Diagram

We work closely with survivors, their families, primary care providers and medical support to minimize inconvenience and stress throughout the claims process wherever possible.

Different time limits apply to abuse cases depending on which state the abuse occurred in, and the particular circumstances of the case.

In general, one has 3 years from the date the offence took place to apply for compensation from the State, or to pursue a civil claim against the offender. However, it is possible for a claim to be made outside the prescribed period, particularly if the victim was a child. Click here for more information on the different time limitation periods that apply in each state for child sexual abuse cases.

We recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure your right to a claim is not lost due to time limitations.

The amount of compensation will be able to claim will depend on the particular facts of your situation. Once we have put together all of the evidence we should be able to give you a better idea of what to expect.

Abuse claims against individuals

The compensation that may be available in an abuse claim against an individual can include payments for medical expenses and loss of earnings should you be unable to work because of the injuries you’ve sustained.

Abuse and harassment claims against institutions and employers

If you have experienced sexual abuse or harassment in a school or orphanage, university, at work, in a taxi or nightclub you may be able to sue the institution or employer for compensation.

Our abuse claim experts have led landmark actions against institutions that have led to record compensation payments and significant changes in the Australian community. Our team can act on your behalf to help you access compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

Where you are located isn't necessarily a barrier when it comes to obtaining the services of a lawyer. We're experts when it comes to abuse related claims across Australia and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.It doesn't matter if you are located close or far away from a Shine Lawyers office - we will always provide the same, expert advice and manage your claim with the same level of quality and commitment.

Our compensation experts are in the following locations:

Shine Lawyers have had extensive experience in handling sexual abuse, and other institutional abuse claims for compensation.

We have been involved in many high profile cases including:

HMAS Leeuwin abuse

Shine Lawyers is currently representing more than 45 former child sailors who were subjected to shocking abuse at the Australia Defence Force naval training base HMAS Leeuwin. If you were abused at HMAS Leeuwin, please contact us for more information on our HMAS Leeuwin abuse action.

Brisbane Grammar School abuse

Our legal team led an action in the Supreme Court of Queensland on behalf of close to 70 former Brisbane Grammar School students who were subjected to sexual abuse while in the school’s care. These claims were successfully resolved through the use of group negotiation and a method of resolution first introduced by our legal team during this litigation.

Toowoomba Preparatory School abuse

In 2001, Shine Lawyers acted for a young woman in a landmark civil case against the Anglican Church. As an 11-year-old school girl at Toowoomba Preparatory School, the young woman suffered abuse at the hands of a boarding house master. The case led to the victim being awarded a record $834,000 in compensation and resulted in the resignation of former governor-general Peter Hollingworth, who was the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane at the time.

St Paul’s Anglican School abuse

Our legal team recovered compensation for 23 former students of the St Paul’s Anglican School in Brisbane who were subjected to shocking sexual abuse at the hands of a former counsellor employed by the school. The claim was commenced in the Supreme Court of Queensland and was successfully resolved using the method developed in the Brisbane Grammar group litigation claim.

Neerkol Orphanage abuse

Shine Lawyers led an action on behalf of more than 70 former orphans who suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse while in the care of the St Joseph’s Orphanage Neerkol. Survivor’s claims were settled successfully.

St Vincent’s Orphanage, Nudgee

Our institutional abuse lawyers fought on behalf of more than 30 former orphans who suffered sexual abuse while in the care of Brisbane’s St Vincent’s Orphanage, Nudgee. Survivor’s claims were resolved successfully.

All members of our abuse claim team have received specialist training in trauma awareness, so we have a good understanding of the difficulties faced by people who have survived trauma in their past. When you contact us, you will be treated with dignity and respect, and with an understanding that it is often not easy for you to put your trust in others.

We’re not your typical lawyers

We are not your typical ‘clinical lawyers’. We have a deep understanding of the impact that incidents of abuse can have on individuals. We will do everything in our power to make the legal process as simple as possible and will strive to recover the full amount of compensation for which our clients are entitled. We believe it is an honor and a privilege to stand up and be a voice for those who have been wronged.

We take care of our clients

We are committed to ensuring our clients have access to the utmost in care. We collaborate with counsellors, medical specialists and family members to provide a team that offer holistic care over the course of our client’s legal journey.

We’re accessible around the clock

Our solicitors will meet with clients at any time of the day - after hours, weekends, public holidays - to provide assistance and advice that is required. This includes meetings at the client’s home.

Shine Lawyers are expert abuse lawyers that can help you get the compensation you need following what has happened. Click on the links below for more information about how Shine Lawyers can help you.

Why you should choose Shine Lawyers to handle your abuse claim

Hear from some of our clients

History of Shine Lawyers

The Shine Lawyers team

Shine Lawyers also have accredited specialists in personal injury law across the nation:

We recognise that whilst compensation is an important aspect, often restorative engagement options are just as important to people who have been abused.

Many survivors want an acknowledgement of the harm they have suffered, and that it wasn’t their fault. They want to be heard now, when they could not be heard in the past. They want a sincere apology, and often they want to be reassured that steps have now been taken to prevent the types of things which occurred in the past from happening now.

Wherever possible, we seek to obtain for our clients these additional and powerful outcomes, which are often not available through traditional litigation.

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