Entries by category: Women

Oct
23

Compensation for sex-trafficked women

Anti-slavery Australia working with pro bono lawyers from Clayton Utz have successfully won over a million dollars in compensation payouts for 22 women forced to work in brothels in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. 

The NSW Victims Compensation Tribunal awarded the statutory maximum of $50,000 to seven women in New South Wales in 2012. 

At the 2013 Justice Awards dinner on 21 October 2013 this partnership was awarded the Pro Bono Partnership Award to acknowledge the excellent outcomes they have achieved for victims who have been sex-trafficked into Australia and forced to work in sexual servitude.  See media release.

For more details about this partnership, see 'Sex slaves get chance at life free of abuse' by Michaela Whitbourne, SMH, 21 October 2013.

Details of the program

For over four years, Anti-Slavery Australia and Clayton Utz have worked in partnership to pioneer a path to compensation for women in NSW who have been sex-trafficked into Australia and forced to work in sexual servitude.  Since its establishment in 2009, the partnership has opened up a new avenue of compensation for hundreds of women sex-trafficked into NSW each year, as well as achieving excellent outcomes for this group of highly disadvantaged clients, many of whom do not speak English, and who have lived in fear for their and their family's safety, experienced serious assault and had their dignity and rights denied.  Through the partnership, clients have been able to seek compensation in a supported environment and receive a high level of legal advice they would otherwise not have been able to access.  In the 2012-2013 financial year, Clayton Utz and ASA assisted 22 clients to obtain statutory compensation for trafficked clients in NSW and the partnership currently has 17 clients with applications pending.

Aug
13

Offensive tweets

A US rapper, known as Tyler the creator, whose lyrics include subjects such as violence, rape fantasies, murder and even necrophilia, recently performed in Australia.  A young woman, Talitha Stone, used Twitter to object to the rapper's lyrics for inciting rape and violence against women. She also attended his all-ages concert to gather evidence about his lyrics.

The rapper responded by retweeting her message to his fans and she received a barrage of tweets filled with abusive and violent messages.  At Tyler's concert he also launched a verbal attack which Ms Stone described as 'terrifying and disturbing'. 

The response of Twitter was lukewarm and certainly did not stop the barrage of tweets. The available complaint procedure with Twitter is that a long form needs to be filled out for each tweet.  If you get hundreds of tweets this becomes virtually impossible. 

Talitha Stone set up a petition through Change.org, calling for Twitter to have a zero tolerance policy for abuse and violence. In response to the publicity, Ms Stone has received a public apology from Twitter and they have announced plans to change their policy from next month.

Background information to this story

Twitter’s Help Centre: Abusive Behaviour

How can you help bring change?

Responses of Government

The Australian Human Rights Commission ran a Right’s Talk: Human rights responses to online hate, discrimination and bullying on 7 August.  If papers are published, we will add a link to them.  During this information session, they discussed 'e-bile' or the use of social media to vent hatred and make violent threats.  They are keen for a remedy to exist for women such as Talitha Stone against such behaviour.  Stay tuned.

ACMA have launched a Digital Citizen's Guide which focuses on encouraging positive behaviours in cyberspace

Other responses to inappropriate or offensive tweets

  • The experience of an academic: Recently, in the US, an academic faces the consequences of a recent tweet that was found to be inoffensive.  See '140 thoughtless characters cost dear in academia' by Katherine Wheat, The Conversation, 9 August 2013.
  • Journalists or 'bloggers' in court: new legislation has been passed in NSW to prevent the reporting of court proceedings through new media such as Twitter without the express permission of the judge. For more details, see our post on this new legislation coming soon!

This use of Twitter is an excellent example of hate crime.  The Australian Hate Crime Network has useful information about hate crime, including links to legislation, magazine articles and case studies.

For more information about Twitter, Cyberlaw and Cybercrime, see the following Research Guides:

Jul
26

Care and protection of children - cases in the media

Responsibility for decisions about a child’s health, schooling and cultural upbringing in Australia generally lies with parents; but when families cannot provide adequate care and protection for their children, the State may intervene in various ways.  In New South Wales, there have been a few cases in which the children have died and the 'system' has failed to keep these children safe.

The spotlight has been on the Department of Family and Community Services and its role in keeping vulnerable and 'at risk children' safe.  Fairfax Media obtained figures under freedom of information laws that show that 'almost three quarters of children deemed at significant harm in NSW will not see a caseworker to undergo safety checks'. To read about these figures more fully see '44,899 children unchecked' by Anna Patty, SMH, 10 July 2013.

Media reports about the failure of the department

There have been several cases that have attracted much media attention over recent weeks.  These include:

Kiesha Abrahams or Weippeart - newly added to LIAC Crime Library

Kristi Abrahams pleaded guilty to murdering her daughter Kiesha in August 2010.  Her burnt remains were not found until early 2011. See: 

For further details, we have added this case to our LIAC Crime Library.  See R v Abrahams – murder of Kiesha Abrahams or Weippeart

Tanilla Opal Warrick-Deaves

Tanilla Deaves died in August 2011 and her mother Donna Deaves  pleaded guilty to her manslaughter in the NSW Supreme Court on 9 July 2013.  Her sentencing hearing will be in September 2011.  For details about Tanilla’s short life and death see

Ebony - in LIAC Crime Library

Ebony died of starvation and neglect in November 2007.  For details of this see:

Tegan Lane - LIAC Crime Library

  • Murder of Tegan Lane - R v Lane - Keli Lane was found guilty of murdering her baby daughter Tegan in 2010 even though her body was never found.  Keli Lane is appealing this decision in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal at the moment.

Impact of abuse on the lives of children

Much has been written about how abused children will become abusers themselves.  The judge sentencing Kristi Abrahams makes reference to her childhood and the abuse she experienced.  See 'Abuse and neglect putting children on path to crime' by Paul Bibby, SMH, 20 July 2013. 

To read more on the topic of the care and protection of children, see our Research Guide HSC Legal Studies: Family – Care and Protection

Jul
16

Fair Work Act - targets bullying and new family friendly measures

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) has been amended by the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (Cth).  The Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 (No 73) (Cth) will commence on 1 January 2014. The key areas targeted by this legislation are bullying in the workplace; introducing more family-friendly measures for workers seeking leave to look after new babies and small children; as well as making the workplace easier and safer for pregnant woment.

This legislation was introduced in response to the Fair Work Act Review which took place during 2011 and 2012, with the final report being released in August 2011.  There are seven schedules to this Bill.  The major ones are:

  • Schedule 1 deals with family-friendly measures including special maternity leave and parental leave, the right to request flexible working arrangements, consultation about changes to rosters and the right of pregnant women to transfer to a safe job
  • Schedule 2 inserts penalty rates into the Modern Awards objective
  • Schedule 3 creates a new Part 6-4B in the Fair Work Act which enables a worker who is bullied at work to apply to the Fair Work Commission (in a newly created division), for an order to stop the bullying.  The Commission will be able to hear applications by workers who 'reasonably believe' that they have been 'bullied at work'. 
  • Schedule 4 is about the right of entry provisions in the Fair Work Act
  • Schedule 4A is about consent arbitration for general protections and unlawful termination.

Analysis of these amendments and their impact

For more information about the workplace, see our Research Guide HSC Legal Studies: Workplace. Use the tabs at the top of the guide to find information under each section.

More about workplace bullying

Safe Work Australia have published a study linking workplace bullying with depression.  The report shows that certain workplace conditions and experiences can increase the risk of depression and subsequent consequences such as time away from work. The report also shows that workers with low levels of support from colleagues and managers were more likely to have depression than those who reported higher levels of support.  A major focus of the study was on the impact of workplace bullying.  See The relationship between work characteristics, wellbeing, depression and workplace bullying.  You will find a summary of the key findings of this report. 

Jun
25

Provocation and LIAC Crime Library

New Criminal Justice Issue

Provocation as a partial defence to murder has been added as a criminal justice issue in our research guide HSC Legal Studies: Crime.  You will find links to three case studies in the LIAC Crime Library that relate to the use of this defence.  These include:

LIAC Crime Library

Four cases have been added to the LIAC Crime Library:

  • Singh v R - defence of provocation used - guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years imprisonment
  • R v Leung - manslaughter of partner - double jeopardy
  • Harding v R - the murder of a woman in a wheelchair by throwing methylated spirits over her and setting her alight.  The principles of sentencing are set out clearly in this decision
  • Crump v New South Wales - appeal to the High Court testing the validity of legislation keeping Crump in prison for life - his bid for parole was unsuccessful.

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