The sum of $500,000 in general damages has been awarded in the case of Haynes, by her tutor Karen Lindley v Haynes [2022] NSWSC 581. This is the highest award a judge has ever made for general damages in ann-recent sexual abuse case. This judgement was handed down by Justice Lonergan in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney, Australia.

Between the ages of 4 and 11 (1974-1981) the Plaintiff was sexually abused by her father. This led to her developing Dissociative Identity Disorder as well as other serious physical injuries. These physical injuries required the Plaintiff to undergo a number of surgeries and continue to provide physical challenges to her daily life.

In 2017 the Plaintiff brought criminal proceedings against her father. He admitted guilt in respect of a number of incidents of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment with 33 years non-parole.

The defendant did not actively defend proceedings or file a defence meaning that liability was an uncontested issue throughout.

In total the Plaintiff was awarded $840,000. This comprised the $500,000 for general damages, $100,000 for aggravated damages and $240,000 for interest on general damages.

The size of this award in this case is significant as it demonstrates just how seriously the court views sexual abuse and the pain and suffering that such abuse will continue to have on victims for the rest of their lives.