Published: 13 October 2020
Author: Ian Dallas
Breakthrough payout against Child Migrant Scheme
There is finally good news for the post-war child migrants who attended the Northcote Farm School at Bacchus Marsh. A landmark Victorian settlement has recently resulted in a significant payout for Nigel Owen, who was represented by RCT Law.
The breakthrough settlement achieved by RCT Law offers renewed hope to anyone who suffered abuse as a child while under the care of the notorious Child Migrant Scheme.
Five-year-old Nigel, along with his brother and sister, were sent to live in Australia by their parents, who were promised a better life for their children. The reality fell well short of their expectations and did not remotely match the promises made by those promoting the scheme. Abuse and neglect, a lack of love and in some cases, sexual abuse, was what greeted these young children.
The scandalous story of the Child Migrant Scheme has been well documented by former child migrant David Hill in his book The Forgotten Children, and vividly illustrated in the film Oranges and Sunshine.
Until now, it has been thought that these child migrants were not able to claim compensation for what was done to them. The organisation that ran the Northcote Farm School had little money, and what it had was quickly exhausted.
A solution has now been found through the diligence of the team at RCT Law. A complex web of legislation provided that the Commonwealth of Australia had responsibility for these children. It was common then for the Commonwealth to hand over responsibility under those laws to the relevant State Department.
Legal claims can therefore be made against the State of Victoria and the Commonwealth of Australia. In Nigel Owen’s case this was done through the Court system but the claim was resolved at an early stage through a settlement conference.
The news is indeed heartening for those child migrants who suffered so grievously. It is not too late for them to make claims. With the assistance of the team at RCT Law, they will attain justice.