Grace Tame has thrown herself behind a campaign to stop convicted paedophiles from avoiding paying damages to victims by hiding their assets in their superannuation.
In several cases, victims whose lives were ruined by ‘heinous’ child sex abuse have been unable to receive full damages because their perpetrators moved assets to the safety of their super accounts.
In some cases, convicted offenders who have protected their wealth from compensation actually return to living ‘opulent lifestyles’ after short jail terms, Ms Tame claimed.
Grace Tame has thrown herself behind a campaign to stop convicted paedophiles from avoiding paying damages to victims by hiding their assets in their superannuation
One survivor, Melissa Snelling, whose abuser shifted his assets into his superannuation before he was found guilty of persistent childhood sexual abuse against her, spoke out
Ms Snelling said she did not have ‘the chance to build a life’ and is now unable to work and needs to pay for constant help from psychologists, support workers and counsellors
At present, the law prevents a damages claim on superannuation, meaning victims exist in poverty even after a successful claim.
The Super for Survivors Campaign has called on the Albanese Government to introduce a change to the Bankruptcy Act to shut the loophole.
It would mean convicted paedophiles’ super accounts would be a source of funds to pay compensation to their victims.
The change nearly became law in 2018, but there were concerns families of convicted criminals could suffer and once released from jail paedophiles could end up on welfare.
Former magistrate Peter Liddy (pictured) was jailed for 25 years in 2001 for sexually abusing boys between 1969 and 1986. He often targeted his victims at an Adelaide surf life saving club during camping trips in the 80’s
‘Wouldn’t you rather put a paedophile on welfare [than] a survivor whose fault it isn’t?’ Ms Tame said on 7.30.
One survivor, Melissa Snelling, was unable to receive the full compensation due to her when her adoptive father, was found guilty of persistent sexual abuse against her.
She told Daily Mail Australia the abuse occurred from ‘as young as I can remember, maybe two and a half until I could escape at 23’.
Ms Snelling said she did not have ‘the chance to build a life’ and is now unable to work and needs to pay for constant help from psychologists, support workers and counsellors.
She also needed multiple surgeries, which she believes are connected to the abuse.
‘Is there a day I won’t suffer? I’m not sure about that, it’s been a battle and I’m still battling,’ Ms Snelling said.
Her abuser, who was sentenced to seven years eight months jail in 2019, has superannuation funds that his adoptive daughter cannot access.
Lawyer Andrew Carpenter, who represented Melissa Snelling, wants to see convicted paedophiles superannuation made available to victims’ compensation claims
Super for Survivors is backed by the Grace Tame Foundation, with Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia and The Carly Ryan Foundation. They want a change to the law to stop convicted sex offenders from avoiding paying full compensation
Ms Tame said given the ‘calculated, premeditated’ nature of child sex abuse that leaves victims suffering ‘a life sentence’ of trauma, there is ‘no question’ the change should happen.
The campaign claims ‘high-powered recidivist offenders can appear cash-poor on paper. This allows them to return to their opulent lifestyles financially unscathed immediately after completing typically short sentences.’
Peter Liddy and Maurice van Ryn were both high-profile paedophiles whose superannuation was unavailable when compensation was paid to their many victims.
Liddy, a former Magistrate, was jailed for 25 years in 2001 for sexually abusing boys between 1969 and 1986.
He often targeted his victims at an Adelaide surf life-saving club during camping trips in the 80s.
Van Ryn was jailed for at least 13 years in 2015 after pleading guilty to assault offences on children between the ages of eight and 16.
The disgraced sex offender has tried to escape compensating the young people he abused by claiming he was down to his last $26,000, however, is believed to have prior shareholdings worth around $9 million.
A lawyer also involved, Andrew Carpenter, told Daily Mail Australia he is ready to fly to Canberra and meet assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones.
‘Here’s the deal: this will save taxpayers billions, it will punish paedophiles and act as a deterrent,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It’s an absolute no-brainer, the only people against the change are paedophiles.’
The organisations behind the Super for Survivors campaign want to meet urgently with deputy treasurer Stephen Jones (pictured left, with governor general David Hurley in June 2022)
‘We often see offenders get short sentence whereas victims have a lifetime sentence of injuries sustained.’
‘We’re saying [the change] should be for child sex offences only because such actions against a child have zero legal justification, whereas in a murder, you can argue mitigating factors, but they’re never any justification for child sex abuse.’
Super for Survivors is backed by the Grace Tame Foundation, with Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia and The Carly Ryan Foundation.
In a statement provided to the ABC, Mr Jones said
Daily Mail Australia approached Treasury and Stephen Jones for comment.