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VIC False Allegations Made by College Counsellor - Is This Defamation?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by enchant, 8 October 2015.

  1. enchant

    enchant Active Member

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    Hello, I have trouble at college caused by false allegations made by a counsellor. She was paranoid and came up with some crazy stories because of a comment I made in a session, but claimed it was professional opinion. It got me suspended and ruined my reputation and since then my health has suffered.

    Is this defamation and can I do something about it?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    Defamation is defined as being an action by a person (or many people) that has destroyed another person's reputation either by verbal or written information. In Victoria, the tort of defamation is governed by common law and the Defamation Act 2005

    The Plaintiff (the person bringing the case) has the burden of proof to prove that the information that was provided was false, the information must of been communicated either verbally or written to a third party and the information that was communicated to a third person must have reference to the particular person.

    An article about defamation can be found here:

    Have You Been Defamed? What You Need to Know About Defamation Law in Australia - Legal Blog - LawAnswers.com.au
     
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  3. enchant

    enchant Active Member

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    Hi Julia, thanks for responding.
    This counsellor implied that I was obsessed with a staff and was stalking him and wanted to commit suicide for his attention. I have a proof of this communication in a statement they used to suspend me from the campus and for the misconduct proceeding.
    The staff involved is someone I considered as a mentor and spoke to a lot, and had discussed arguments with him with this counsellor. They used some of my disability caused behaviours (crying and meltdowns) to support their argument and I feel like I have been bullied, and my life was ruined by this.

    Does anyone have ideas what kind of evidence may I use to prove that the information was false?


    an prove that she is aware that the statement was untrue
     
  4. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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    Did she express this orally or written to a third party?
    Do you have witnesses? They could provide a statement that you could use as evidence.
     
  5. enchant

    enchant Active Member

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    Thanks for responding. I don't know how she has expressed it but this seemed to have been discussed amongst some college staff, and I ended up being suspended for it. The allegations are derogatory and I feel like they have harmed my character.

    I do have a letter from the college stating what has been said about me. However there is no record of what happened in the session.

    Any ideas of what I might be able to do? I regret trusting the counsellor and hope something can be done, otherwise they might abuse authority and nature of the sessions and do this to anyone...
    Thanks in advance.
     
  6. enchant

    enchant Active Member

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    The counsellor tried contacting my social worker to "pick me up" from campus while I was using the computer, although I have never given her any consent to contact the worker. Is this a breach of privacy? And then I was threatened with calls to hospitals and CAT teams. I feel I am bullied by her and I cannot even be in the campus to make a complaint about her. I am wondering if there are any laws that protects students against this kind of treatment?

    Thanks very much in advance for any assistance.
     
  7. beanie

    beanie Well-Known Member

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    Actually the onus of proof is on the defendant if he/she wants to claim that the statement is not defamatory because it is the truth (or contextual truth). You may have a case if you can prove that defamatory statements were indeed made identifying you, and they caused you actual damages. Another matter you can consider legal action is a breach of privacy. I'm not sure how "licensed" or "qualified" your counsellor is, but if she is a psychologist she would have breached privacy and also a professional code of conduct you can lodge a complaint to her about.

    Whatever you try to do, keep calm. Looking distress will not help your case. If you cannot keep calm, get someone else (family/friends/lawyer) to speak on your behalf.

    Take care of your health. It's been 8 weeks since your post I hope you've gotten somewhere.
     
  8. enchant

    enchant Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply, beanie. I've sent a formal complaint to the college asking them to remedy the situation and reimburse me for psychologist fees, but I'm still waiting for a response.

    But I'm not having high hopes because I've seen too many reviews on the internet about how they only want money and not wanting to help students. The college did not even investigate the incident properly despite giving evidence from a psychologist about my disability.

    I'm very unhappy about how the counsellor has affected my reputation and my relationships at the college, and I've not been able to work or study properly for the past 6 months. They've ruined my connections I made on campus too that would be important to my career in the field of study.

    I was wondering if there may be information of how I might be able to write and file the claim myself? I would like to hire a lawyer, but I'm worried about the fees...
     

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