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. Research for this publication was undertaken by our law firm partner, Simmons & Simmons JWS.
A series of shocking physical and sexual assault cases involving 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 injuries and trauma that can last for years.
A critical part in helping survivors recover is ensuring they are fully compensated for the abuse they had suffered. While a payment can never erase their experiences, it can cover ongoing medical bills and help them get their lives back together by moving forward with 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 portion 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 injuries and traumas 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 leaves 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 a Singapore Institute of Legal Education accredited Continuing Professional Development workshop with Simmons & Simmons JWS.
Additional trainings that will get frontline caseworkers and additional lawyers up to speed on the issue are in the works 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 JWS and our Legal Fellows for making this publication possible.
Check out our strategic guide here.