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Government to prevent convicted child abusers from hiding assets in super

3 minute read

Two proposals have been put forward by the government in a consultation paper.

The federal government is seeking to prevent convicted child sexual abusers from hiding their assets in superannuation in order to avoid paying compensation to their victims.

At present, an offender’s superannuation assets are not available to the victims and survivors of child sexual as a means of compensation.

Two proposals have been put forward in a Treasury discussion paper that would provide for the release of an offender’s super for the purposes of satisfying unpaid compensation orders.

According to the government, the proposed changes would close a loophole that is causing further harm to victims by denying them court‑awarded compensation.

“Child abuse survivors and their advocates have long campaigned for these changes. The government will act quickly to close this loophole,” Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones said in a statement on Thursday.

Under the changes, certain super contributions made by an offender in the leadup to criminal proceedings would be made available to victims for the purposes of paying compensation.

Furthermore, courts would be entitled to access data from the Australian Taxation Office about the super accounts of offenders, providing victims with transparency of the offender’s assets.

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

As part of the discussion paper, Treasury explained that offenders may be incentivised to voluntarily make large personal contributions to their own or their spouse’s super accounts under the existing framework to shield assets from potential compensation orders.

“In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile reports of convicted child sexual abuse offenders deliberately hiding millions of dollars’ worth of assets in superannuation accounts to defeat compensation claims,” Treasury said.

“This can delay or prevent victims’ and survivors’ access to compensation and further add to their emotional distress. This paper’s proposals aim to canvass reforms that directly address such practices.”

Mr Jones indicated that the government is planning to introduce new legislation as a matter of priority following consultation on the proposed changes, which is set to close on 16 February.

Crisis and suicide prevention

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero: 000

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Child sexual abuse support and advice

Blue Knot Foundation: 1300 657 380 or blueknot.org.au

Bravehearts: 1800 272 831 or bravehearts.org.au

Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN): 1800 008 774 or clan.org.au

National Redress Scheme: 1800 737 377 or nationalredress.gov.au

Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN): 1800 472 676 or samsn.org.au

Family, domestic and sexual violence support

National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service – 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732 or 1800respect.org.au

Mental health support and advice

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au

QLife: 1800 184 527 or qlife.org.au

Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.