JWB has just published a strategic guide that seeks to help lawyers calculate the full amount of damages a victim of physical or sexual violence has suffered, and to claim it back on their behalf. The research for this publication was undertaken by our law firm partner, Simmons & Simmons.
A series of shocking physical and sexual assault cases featuring domestic workers have grabbed headlines in both Hong Kong and Singapore’s mainstream press. While criminal prosecutions seek to bring abusive employers to justice, survivors often head home with trauma and injuries that can last for years.
One critical part of helping survivors recover is ensuring that they receive full compensation for the abuses they suffered. While a payment can never erase their experiences, it can cover ongoing medical bills and give them the breathing room they need to put their lives back together and move forward from a secure economic foundation.
How to claim for injuries that leave no marks?
Unfortunately, both Hong Kong and Singapore’s legal systems regularly cover only a part of the injuries that survivors may suffer. While amounts awarded in compensation for visible physical injuries and doctor-recognised psychological traumas like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have clear calculations, the legal systems in both cities have yet to address those that otherwise leave no mark.
The guide thus approaches calculating harms that to-date have often gone unmentioned in damage claims. These include sexual assault, physical assault that leave no visible injury, and the broad range of psychic traumas that may not reach the level of clinical PTSD. Together, these injuries can represent a significant amount of the harm that a survivor has suffered.
Turning to eventual test cases, JWB is focusing on building a corps of frontline professionals who will be able to act immediately on test cases they find. JWB launched this guide at an SILE accredited CPD workshop with Simmons & Simmons JWS, with additional trainings that will get frontline caseworkers and additional lawyers up to speed on the issue to come as well.
This research is part of JWB’s mission to build a body of knowledge to enable workers to receive rightful compensation, regardless of whether their case involves cross-border elements.
We are grateful to our law firm partner Simmons & Simmons and our Legal Fellows for making this publication possible.