A tireless advocate for victims of child abuse across Australia has passed away.
Anthony Foster, whose two daughters were abused by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s, is reported to have died on Friday following a massive stroke after he fell and hit his head.
The 64-year-old dedicated his life to campaigning for children who suffered abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church in an effort to ensure the institution was held accountable for its crimes over the decades.
Foster and his wife Chrissie had two daughters, Emma and Katie, who were raped repeatedly by Melbourne priest Father Kevin O'Donnell during their primary school years.
Katie struggled with alcohol problems before being involved in a car accident with a drunk driver in 1999. She is now physically and mentally disabled, requiring round-the-clock care.
Emma developed eating disorders, a drug addiction and began to self-harm. She tragically died of an overdose in 2008 aged just 26.
Commission chair saddened by news
The Fosters were active with the media and told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about their experiences.
Chair of the Royal Commission Justice Peter McClellan said he and other commission staff were "deeply saddened" by the news of Mr Foster's death.
"Anthony and Chrissie dedicated many years of their lives to bringing about justice for survivors of child sexual abuse. Their tireless advocacy helped bring about this Royal Commission," he explained in a statement.
"They attended hundreds of days of public hearings and participated in many of our policy roundtables. With a dignity and grace, Anthony and Chrissie generously supported countless survivors and their families while also managing their own grief."
Child sex abuse compensation
Victims of child abuse and their loved ones may be entitled to compensation for any suffering perpetrated by members of the church.
The Fosters were originally offered $50,000 in the 1990s when Father O'Donnell's crimes came to light. According to ABC News, the church warned the couple that if they took their case to court, the institution would vigorously defend itself.
The Fosters ignored the threat and fought for over 10 years before being awarded $750,000.
"Anthony's heart was so big – he fought for others to make sure what happened to our family, could not happen to anyone else," his loved ones said in a statement following his death.
Would you like to speak to someone about child sex abuse compensation? Please talk in complete confidence with one of our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.