Institutional News

18 November 2019 - Update on National Redress Scheme (NRS) and Common Law Claims

The NRS continues to be criticised for delays in claims being processed, lack of transparency in how claims are determined (particularly with respect to the finding of “extreme circumstances” being the gateway to the maximum payment of $150,000) and the indexation of prior payments. The fact that a payment can be reduced on review is also a matter of great distress to claimants who agonise over whether to request a review of their NRS offers.

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Sexual and Institutional abuse 9 July 2014

Australia is yet to see a court victory for victims of sexual abuse where a religious institution has been held liable for a group of victims who allege sexual abuse from serial clerical abusers. However last month in Canada a Montreal court ruled that the Redemptionist Order was liable to pay at least $75,000 in damages to each victim who attended a seminary run by the Order between 1960 and 1987 ( Approximately 70 victims have co

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Amendments to the Children, Youth and Families Act

Amendments to the Children, Youth and Families Act by the Children Youth and Families Amendment (Permanent Care and Other matters) Bill 2014 have now been passed. In a press release (, the Minister for Community Services said:

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Archbishop Hart’s Review of the Melbourne Response a Delaying Tactic.

The Catholic Church and other religious institutions have come under sustained pressure to revisit their settlement processes and to re-open claims that have already been settled. In this context the Christian Brothers have already invited people who have settled their claims to come forward and seek further compensation.

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The Hon Justice Peter McLellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse gave a wide ranging speech for Blue Knot Day for Adults Surviving Child Abuse. Justice McLellan spoke about what the Commissioners have learnt. He said that the picture emerging was that although sexual abuse of children is not confined in time-it is happening today- there was a time in Australian history when the conjunction of prevailing social attitudes to children and an unquestioning respect for authority of institutions by adults coalesced to create a high risk environment in which thousands of children were abused. Justice McLellan also said that although the primary responsibility for the sexual abuse of an individual lies with the abuser and the institution of which they were part, the conclusion that the problems faced by many people who were abused are the responsibility of society cannot be avoided.

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Victims of child abuse have welcomed the Coalition’s commitment to implement recommendation 26.3 of the Betrayal of Trust report to abolish limitation periods in historical child abuse claims. A draft bill has been prepared and the current Government is seeking responses by 5th December 2014.

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Anybody who has a legal problem usually suffers from a certain degree of anxiety and heightened stress levels. Clients who have suffered childhood sexual abuse often present with even higher levels of anxiety. Lawyers and other professionals who deal with victims of sexual abuse will say that these clients can require more support than is usually the case.

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The Royal Commission has now conducted several damaging hearings into private and religious organisations which have been accused of allowing children to be sexually abused. There have been public hearings into the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, YMCA and many others.

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"Did you suffer abuse at St Paul's Boy's Home Newhaven?"

St Paul’s Boy’s Home, was an orphanage run by the Anglican Church between 1928 and 1979 in Newhaven, Phillip Island. It was established by the Mission of St James and St John. Many boys who attended there said that the physical environment was very suitable for boys and that activities included bush walking, bird watching, fishing and swimming. But like many orphanages of the 20th century, some of the staff who were involved in the “care” of the boys were cruel, sadistic and sexually abusive.

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Sexual and Institutional abuse 30 January 2015

Earlier today in a public hearing Justice McLellan read a statement outlining some preliminary comments about redress for victims of institutional abuse. The Royal Commission (the Commission) also released a consultation paper on redress to which Angela Sdrinis Legal has been invited to respond.

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In a wide ranging speech at the Victorian Law institute’s Conference of Council, Victoria’s Attorney General Martin Pakula confirmed that his Government was committed to implementing all of the recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report. Mr Pakula pointed out that some of the recommendations regarding criminal sanctions had already been implemented. He said that some of the recommendations relating to changes that need to be made to the civil law were more complicated but that the...

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Time Limits To Be Abolished in Child Abuse Cases

One of the barriers to victims of child abuse having their civil claims heard in a court of law has been the Statute of Limitations which is a law which says that many victims’ claims for damages are out of time. Whilst it has always been possible for victims of historical abuse to apply for an extension of time, these applications are costly and the outcomes have been difficult to predict. Certainly the further you go back in time the less likely it has been that an extension of time will be granted.

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