Bashing victim faces a long wait until he can apply for compensation

NORTH Nowra bashing victim Francois Beugels continues to make steady progress after suffering a savage beating earlier this year but now faces a wait of possibly up to three years to gain compensation.

Mr Beugels, 76, was the victim of an attack in North Nowra while on an evening walk on August 25 in which he was allegedly punched to the ground, had his head pushed into a concrete gutter, his wallet stolen and his head stomped on.

Nowra solicitor Phil Carey, who is acting for Mr Beugels, said compensation could take up to 36 months to be determined.

Compensation matters are handled through Victim Services which comes under the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice.

“Mr Beugels is in an extremely fragile state after his ordeal,” Mr Carey said.

“It is quite distressing to see the effect this beating has had on him.

“He is currently seeing a counsellor and through his psychologist I believe applications have been made to Victims Services for immediate funding so he can continue his ongoing treatment.

“But that could take up to 36 months.”

Despite suffering neurological injuries, Mr Beugels can’t see a neurologist until next year, which is also an essential part of his application for compensation.

Mr Beugels also has other costs for medications and treatment, as well as the installation of security doors and other equipment in his home.

“I’m not criticising the service but sometimes I think they are a little too anal making sure they cross the Ts and dot the Is. 

“In this case he has suffered an extraordinary beating at the hands of people he didn’t even know,” Mr Carey said.

“We are trying to get him some funding upfront so we can take care of his immediate needs.

“There is a threshold of claims of at least $7500 before you can even entertain lodging an application.

“We are dealing with a bureaucracy that is sympathetic but not sensitive.

“This chap is desperately in need of support and compensation and with his injuries is not a well man.”

In typical Francois Beugels fashion the man himself plays down his lot, saying he is “battling along”.

“I still have some problems,” he said.

“It is very hard. Physically, I’m all right but I still have some problems with my mind – I have memory problems, trouble with my reflexes and still haven’t got my proper balance back, which means I can’t drive.”

He also suffered severe hearing problems after the bashing but said after having new hearing aids fitted he can better hear and understand people, although he still struggles with it.

“People individually have been fantastic to me. 

“It’s going to take time to sort out.

“That’s frustrating but that’s is the system – any system, I suppose.

“Otherwise I’m all right. I’m just awaiting the outcome of the court case.

“It’s not until you are involved in something like this that you realise how often this sort of thing actually goes on.”

With no neurologists in Nowra or Wollongong, the first available appointment he could get in Sydney was in mid-February next year.

Reports from that consultation along with others with ear, nose and throat specialists have to be undertaken before a claim can be placed.

“We have to get all our paperwork in place before we can make a compensation claim,” he said.

While Medicare covers some of his medical expenses there is still a gap on a number of the treatments, while being unable to drive he has to use community transport or take taxis.

He estimates he is already well over $1000 out of pocket.

“I think I had as much chance as winning first prize in Lotto as I did in getting bashed – the only problem is I got bashed,” he said.

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