08 October 2009

Paedophile awarded more than victim


THE victim sexually abused by paedophile Anthony Douglas Walters received just $7500 compensation as a victim of crime while her tormentor was awarded more than $93,000.

Walters, 47, sentenced to six years' jail with a minimum of three for a series of child sex attacks, received $65,000 compensation for plastic surgery, medical expenses and psychological counselling after being attacked while in prison.

He was also awarded $28,750 for legal costs. But his victim, a young girl who was repeatedly abused, received just $7500 in victims of crime compensation, the maximum allowed four years ago.

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While Walters sued the State of Victoria in the County Court to get his payout this year, the child victim went through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.

Her family was outraged at the difference in the amounts and slammed the system.

"It's so unfair, her child is suffering still on a daily basis," a friend of the victim's mother said after reading of Walters' payout in the Herald Sun.

With the victim's mother by her side, the family spokeswoman said the difference in treatment and compensation was staggering. "He was awarded $93,000 for one incident (where he was attacked in jail). He assaulted his victim over a period of two years from the time she was four.

"She was awarded $7500 under victims of crime, which she can't access until she is 18."

The family friend, on behalf of the victim's mother, said she was considering her legal options to sue Walters for damages and access part or all of his jail attack payout, held in quarantine for a year.

The victim's family is also asking why Walters was given money and not just provided with state-paid medical care.

Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Government had taken a balanced view on compensation to prisoners by ensuring money was put in quarantine for victims to apply for.

He said the statutory maximum available for victims' pain and suffering had now also been increased from $7500 to $10,000 but civil courts had the potential to provide higher amounts and individuals had the option to sue.

"Our Government reinstated compensation for pain and suffering for victims of crime, which was abolished under the previous government," Mr Hulls said. "Victims can also receive up to $60,000 for counselling, medical expenses and other expenses.

"Awards of financial assistance from VOCAT made to victims of crime are not intended to reflect the level of compensation to which victims of crime may be entitled at common law or otherwise.

"The Government took the view a couple of years ago that in relation to prisoners who are serving time, if they receive compensation then that compensation is actually held in trust unless, or until, victims have made a claim on that compensation money."

Opposition legal affairs spokesman Robert Clark said most Victorians would see the difference in payment amounts as grossly unfair.

"The gap between the compensation paid to his victim and the $93,000 provided by taxpayers for a pedophile's free cosmetic surgery and psychological counselling adds insult to injury for both the victim and long-suffering taxpayers," Mr Clark said.

- Matt Johnston

Paedophile awarded more than victim | Herald Sun

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