Catholic and Anglican churches have established organisations aimed at helping victims take legal action and seek healing for sexual abuse suffered at the hands of church authorities. However, these organisations sometimes fail to help the victim and instead are more intent on helping the reputation of the church rather than giving compensation. Gerard Malouf & Partners’ sexual assault compensation lawyers can help you make a claim against these organisations.
The history of Catholic Church sexual abuse protocols
The Church’s National Committee for Professional Standards established “Towards Healing” and “The Melbourne Response” in 1997, according to The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse. These are church protocols for assisting people who have been abused within the Catholic Church in Australia or specifically in the The Archdiocese of Melbourne.
However, ever since their creation, the church has been heavily criticised for circumventing its stated principles in the protocols and shirking its legal duty to report allegations.
The Royal Commission investigated Towards Healing
In January 2015, the Royal Commission released a report on a particularly high profile case against Towards Healing. The Royal Commission investigated the Catholic Church’s response to the victim’s allegation that Father Aidan Duggan abused him from 1974 to 1979. The commission found that Towards Healing authorities were guilty of failing to live up to their stated principles of providing support to victims.
When the victim told Towards Healing counsellors about being abused, Father Duggan was much older and unable to comment on the claim because he had dementia. However, the Royal Commission states that the Towards Healing protocol gave clear guidance on what to do in an event like this – the Director of Professional Standards must contact one or two assessors. However, Towards Healing did not do this and was found to have failed to carry out the formal assessment of the complaint.
Making a sexual abuse claim
To make a sexual abuse claim against a church because of its mishandling of sexual abuse claims under a protocol, first contact the police and get a report.
Then, Gerard Malouf & Partners will take it from there. We will help prepare all the documents required to make a claim. This includes giving a concise summary of the abuse and the dates it occurred.
We will also help you prepare reports of psychological or physical harm from experiencing sexual abuse as a child will be to your advantage. This could be provided by police or medical and counselling reports.
After all of the documents have been accounted for, we will submit them to the institution. The decision on your case should be made in six to 12 months. However, sometimes it can take longer depending on how complicated your case is, the NSW Government explains.
We know this is an emotionally tolling process, but Gerard Malouf & Partners has a very compassionate yet professional team of sexual assault compensation lawyers that will walk you through it every step of the way. Also, please be assured that we never publish case studies that involve sexual assault to protect your privacy. Contact us today to make sure these crimes are no longer ignored.