Child Sex Abuse Solicitors - Lawyers Compensation Claims Australia
Institutional child sex abuse compensation claims run by lawyers in Australia can be complex and difficult. There are two main possible routes for an Australian solicitor to claim compensation which can be effected either against the individual concerned who is employed or controlled by a company, institution or organisation alternatively direct action can be taken against the company, institution or organisation. The law may be applied by a child sex abuse solicitor in different ways dependent on the route chosen to pursue the legal claim. There is a third method of sex related compensation that may be taken advantage of by a solicitor which relates to discretionary funds set up to compensate the innocent victims of sex abuse by some organisations including the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army.
Individuals & Organisations
In a legal claim against an individual in Australia, a child sex abuse solicitor is able to take advantage of exemptions to civil law relating to intentional acts of sexual abuse which means that limiting financial thresholds that apply to most solicitors personal injury claims should not apply thereby allowing more substantive damages awards. In the case of an organisation there are often substantial assets that can be used to pay awards of damages which is not always the case in compensation claims made by lawyers against individual perpetrators of institutional child sex abuse who may however effectively be financially indemnified, by way of vicarious liability, by the company that employed or controlled the abuser. An Australian organisation will be held liable if it can be shown that the abuser was acting in the course of employment which facilitated the opportunity to abuse children or if there was negligence on the part of the organisation in so far as the organisation knew or ought to have been aware of the fact that abuse was in fact taking place.
The most notorious current sex cases being handled by child sex abuse lawyers relate to sex abuse within Church run schools by priests, brothers and lay teachers. Many of the abused victims have now grown up and come forward, knowing they are not alone, to seek damages but more often to ensure that there is an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and to ensure criminal prosecution to stop other youngsters from being subjected to the same abuse. Many of these complaints have involved the Catholic Church which has privately settled claims through ‘Towards Healing’ negotiations without recourse to law at substantially undervalued amounts. If any victim is considering settlement with a representative of the Catholic Church they should first take advice from a child sex abuse lawyer or solicitor prior to making any agreement or signing any document relating to compensation whatsoever no matter how innocuous that document may seem at the time. It must be stated that the Catholic Church does have immunity from civil prosecution as a result of a High Court judgement which concluded that it had constructed itself in such a way way as to be immune from suit by virtue of it having no corporate identity however a subsequent statement signed by every bishop in the Australian Catholic Church indicated that it will not seek to make itself immune from being sued in abuse compensation claims.
The current ‘Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse’ was established in 2013 by the Australian Government to enquire and report about institutional child sex abuse. The commission has examined the history of abuse in educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organisations, state institutions and youth organisations. The commission has unearthed a raft of wrongdoing by institutions and organisation designed to ensure that abusers never faced justice and that child abuse was obfuscated in such a way that perpetrators escaped their just deserts and in many cases were simply moved to other locations when unsavoury accusations of illicit sex were made against them.