The West

Many victims of sexual abuse at state-run hostels in WA will receive compensation payments from the government of only $5000, their lawyer says.

In November, the State Government opened applications to the Country High School Hostels ex-gratia scheme, which will provide payments of up to $45,000 to eligible applicants who were abused while boarding at a hostel between 1960 and 2006.

The scheme was created following revelations at an inquiry into abuse at St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning, St Christopher's hostel in Northam, Hardie House in South Hedland and St Michael's House in Merredin.

Victims and the Opposition said at the time that the compensation cap had been set far too low.

Perth lawyer John Hammond, who represents many of the victims, says it appears a significant number will be eligible for only the minimum payment of $5000.

“Any payment under $45,000 is a slap in the face,” Mr Hammond told ABC radio today.

Premier Colin Barnett has previously said no amount of money could compensate the victims for the suffering they had endured, and $45,000 was beyond the recommendations that came from the inquiry.

He also previously said the ex-gratia scheme would have no bearing on any civil damages that individuals might choose to pursue.

But one of the victims, Todd Jefferies, recently said legal advice had indicated it might be too risky to sue.


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