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This page is intended to provide legal practitioners who are representing clients participating, or considering participating, in the Pathways model with further information.

It also seeks to provide helpful information to practitioners seeking to make a file request under the Privacy Act or wish to serve a subpoena on Pathways Victoria.

1.  I have a subpoena to serve on Pathways. How do I do that?

Any service-related queries can be addressed to info@pathwaysvictoria.com. This inbox is monitored from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can expect a response within 24 hours.

2.  I want to make a file request to Pathways. How do I do that?

Any requests under the Privacy Act can be addressed to info@pathwaysvictoria.com This inbox is monitored from 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Pathways strives to respond to file requests within 30 days.

3.  How do I obtain a 'Towards Healing' or 'Melbourne Response' file?

Pathways does not hold any Towards Healing or Melbourne Response files. We kindly direct any such requests to the relevant church authority.

 

4.  My client already has a recent medico-legal report. Is another one required?

In some circumstances, your client may have undertaken a medico-legal assessment prior to engaging with Pathways. Whilst we seek to minimise the re-telling of the incident/s of abuse and minimise the disruption required in attending appointments, the medico-legal report offers a vital independent and expert assessment of the impact the abuse has had. In most circumstances, your client will be required to attend an assessment as specified by Pathways. 

 

We support the facilitation of any materials, such as previous reports, GP assessments, specialist reports or diagnoses, medication lists, etc, to be provided in advance to the medico-legal expert so that they have a full history from your client. Pathways is unable to fund any costs which may be associated with obtaining these. 

 

Pathways sources from a range of medico-legal experts who have: 

  • Appropriate qualifications and experience in providing clarity on the relevant issues

  • Trauma-Informed methods of interviewing

  • Peer acceptance, be of good standing with the relevant health practitioner registration board and give opinions that stay within their area of expertise

  • Current and ongoing clinical experience

  • Availability of appointments and capacity to complete the report within a reasonable timeframe

Pathways will:

  • Fund all costs associated with obtaining the report

  • Assist with any reasonable travel arrangements that may be required

  • Source and fund an interpreter if required

  • Provide you with information about the recommended medico-legal expert

  • Provide you with a copy of the finalised report at the earliest opportunity

  • Where a report is identified as containing sensitive material, which, if provided to your client may be detrimental to their well-being, have regard to precautions recommended by the medico-legal expert in terms of how the content of the report is conveyed

  • Advise the medico-legal expert of any factual errors

 

Please note that Pathways will not provide reimbursement of medico-legal reports not obtained through Step 3 of the model.

 

Pathways has prepared a Step 3 – Medico-Legal Assessment Guide for your client in an easy-to-understand format. You can find this guide here.

 

5.  My client is already engaging with a psychologist. Can Pathways co-ordinate this pre-existing relationship?

Your client may have a pre-existing relationship with a practitioner that they would like to continue. Pathways Victoria is supportive of this providing it is in accordance with our Therapeutic Support Guideline and Service Agreement, which can be found here

6.  Are any of my client's legal costs reimbursable?

Reasonable costs associated with legal advice provided in connection with Step 3 of the Pathways model may be reimbursable. The maximum Pathways can contribute to these costs is $5,000. More information can be found here. 

7.  How long will it take for my client to receive an outcome?

Pathways upholds responsiveness to matters as a central consideration, and we endeavour to progress matters through the model as quickly as possible. However, there are a variety of factors that can impact the timeline, including the complexity of the matter, whether an investigation is required, medico-legal report delays, etc. 

8.  How does the Resolution Panel determine financial compensation?

The Resolution Panel use the following matrix to determine financial resolution.

The above matrix demonstrates the maximum base level as of 1 January 2015. The current indexed applicable levels are provided below.

 

Monetary compensation in recognition of ‘additional elements’ at Column 3 will apply where a person:

  • was in statutory care at the time of the abuse

  • experienced other forms of abuse

  • was in a closed institution or without family or friends at the time of the abuse

  • was particularly vulnerable to abuse because of their disability 

 

‘Statutory care’ means the person was a ward of the state or under the guardianship of the relevant Minister or government agency.

 

‘Other forms of abuse’ means where the person experienced other forms of abuse in conjunction with sexual abuse, including physical, emotional or cultural abuse or neglect. 

 

‘Particularly vulnerable’ means, having regard to their disability at the time of the abuse, it would be reasonable to conclude that the person was at increased risk of sexual abuse or misconduct and/or physical abuse.

 

‘Disability’ means:

  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions; or

  • total or partial loss of a part of the body; or

  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour.

 

Where applicable, the monetary figures in column 3 are added to the amounts awarded under Columns 1 and 2.

 

The monetary figures are subject to indexation.  To ensure the level of payments remains equitable over time, an annual increase based on CPI for each calendar year since 2015 will be applied to the base levels indicated above.   Indexation will be calculated based on the date of the ‘without prejudice’ offer.

As at 1 January 2024 the indexed amounts are:

Minimum:       $18,454

Maximum:       $368,986

Average:          $119,951

9.  Are Pathways mediations subject to the matrix?

Offers made by the church authority in mediation are not limited to the threshold that applies to the Resolution Panel. Church Authorities will likely construct offers made in mediation by considering and possibly being guided by what they expect the findings and recommendations of the Resolution Panel to be. However, they are not bound by those findings or recommendations. Offers made by Church Authorities in mediation may exceed, match or be lower than the amounts recommended by the Resolution Panel. Those offers are then considered by your client and negotiated within the mediation process, towards mediated resolution.

 

10.  What about the repayment of other expenses?

Medicare repayments and any other statutory repayments will be deducted from the amount and paid by the relevant church authority before payment of the balance is made to your client. This will require a Medicare notice of charge to be provided to Pathways Victoria. Your client is responsible for enquiring into and attending to the repayment of any liability to their private health insurer out of any monetary payment received in the Pathways Resolution process. 

11.  The deed of release has been signed. When should my client expect their payment?

Once the deed of release has been fully executed by the client and the relevant church authority, monetary compensation will be paid to the account nominated by your client within 28 days by the relevant church authority. 

12.  Can I provide submissions to the Resolution Panel? 

Yes. These can be provided to the Response and Resolution Director, who will facilitate the production of those submissions and any other material you would like considered by the Resolution Panel.

13.  My client has changed their mind and wishes to pursue civil litigation/NRS application. What happens now? 

A person may notify the Response and Resolution Director that they wish to suspend or withdraw their Resolution Application at any time. If the person chooses to commence an action regarding the same allegation through either the National Redress Scheme or civil litigation (whether or not proceedings are commenced), the Pathways Resolution process will be suspended indefinitely.

14.  My client would like the opportunity to participate in a mediation. Who appoints a mediator?  

The Response and Resolution Director will appoint independent mediators with national mediator accreditation (NMAS) who are experienced in institutional abuse matters and apply trauma-informed principles of care in their professional practice. Pathways will pay the mediator’s fees and later seek reimbursement from the responsible Participating Church Authority/Authorities. 

 

You can read our Step 3: Trauma Informed Guide for Mediators here

15.  Who can attend a Pathways mediation?

Your client may have legal representation at the mediation.  They may also have a support person present if they wish. 

The Participating Church Authority will also appoint one or more representatives to attend the mediation, and it may also appoint legal representation in circumstances where the applicant is legally represented.  

A staff member from Pathways Victoria may also be present.

Each party is responsible for their own legal fees; however,  your client may apply to Pathways for reimbursement of these costs up to a total limit of $5,000

16.  How are Pathways mediations conducted?

Pathways is cognisant that mediations follow trauma-informed practices and principles in order to minimise the risk of upsetting and destabilising interpersonal interactions within mediations. To ensure mediations facilitated are conducted in a trauma-informed manner, Pathways will:

  • Ensure that the environment in which mediations are conducted, whether online or in-person, is comfortable, accommodating and considerate to all parties involved

  • Engage mediators who have national mediator accreditation (NMAS), who are experienced in institutional abuse matters and apply trauma-informed principles of care in their professional practice

  • Assign responsibility to mediators that their mediation practice is informed by trauma principles to minimise harmful re-traumatisation 

  • As much as practicably possible within a mediation, monitor service delivery to ensure it is consistent with trauma-informed principles

  • At the outset, ensure all parties understand that they can take a break at any point in the mediation process

  • Ensure a safe private space is made available to all parties to retire to, should they need a break at any point 

  • Make refreshments and water available when mediation is conducted in person

  • Collaborate with victim-survivors and/or their legal representatives and accommodate emotional or physical safety related requests of the victim-survivor where possible

  • Collaborate with the victim-survivors and their representatives as to their choice to participate in mediation, if at all 

  • Invite feedback from participants post mediation

Pathways expects that all mediation participants will:

  • Avoid power-over relationships and communication approaches

  • Communicate with each other in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner

  • Follow any directions or requests in relation to the victim-survivors emotional, psychological or physical safety

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