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Catholic Church Abuse Lawyers


By now, child sex abuse in the Catholic Church is well known for being a common problem.

Only in the past decade has the extent of Church authorities’ efforts to protect clergymen from lawsuits been fully understood.

At GMP Law, we want to do everything we can to bring sexual predators and the institutions that illegally protected them to justice.

If you, or somebody you know, has suffered harm within the church, speak with our team of expert claim lawyers. These are sensitive and complex matters, but our team can work with you to inform you of your legal options and, if you choose to pursue a claim, work to ensure you receive redress for the harm you’ve suffered. 

Click here to book a free, non-obligation consultation with one of our compensation lawyers, or give us a call at 1800 004 878.

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The history of abuse in the Catholic Church

The National Museum in Australia (NMA) states that sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy and monks has a long history that goes back 2,000 years.

Yet, it’s only recently that many allegations of childhood sexual abuse within the church have come out into the open. The Royal Commission on Child Sex Abuse was established in 2013 by the Australian government. Its purpose is to investigate and report on instances of child sexual abuse in various institutions, including the Catholic Church. This initiative, paired with increasing legal action and media reporting, has led to greater public awareness and a wave of disclosures and testimonies from survivors. 

Now, more and more survivors of child abuse from within the Catholic Church — and similar institutions — are coming forward to receive redress for the harm they’ve experienced. If you’ve experienced such abuse, know that you’re not alone and that help is available if you’re considering filing a compensation claim.


Filing a sexual abuse compensation claim

There are two main legal avenues for survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are considering seeking redress: A National Redress Scheme claim and a civil claim. 

The National Redress Scheme offers survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse compensation in the form of a personal response from the liable institute, coverage of therapeutic costs and a lump sum payment. Applications are generally made online, although the National Redress Scheme can send paper applications if requested, and the process itself generally takes 12 months. 

Civil claims, on the other hand, are legal actions taken directly against the alleged perpetrators and/or institutions through Australia’s legal system. While claims filed through the National Redress Scheme offer advantages, such as a streamlined, relatively hands-off process, we generally advise survivors to pursue a civil claim — here’s why:

  • Accepting a redress offer under the Scheme legally prohibits applicants from pursuing any further compensation claims against the accused institution.
  • The maximum payment through the National Redress Scheme is $150,000, with the average payment being $87,955. Civil claims don’t have the same compensation restrictions, instead, the compensation awarded is more accurately proportional to the harm suffered.
  • National Redress Scheme compensation eligibility is confined to instances of abuse occurring in institutions that are participants in the Scheme itself. Those abused in non-participating institutions are ineligible for redress payments.
  • The Scheme exclusively addresses cases of sexual abuse. Civil cases can account for a broader range of abuses, including emotional and physical harm more generally.


In our experience, most civil claims result in a payout of over $150,000. For example, in a recent case we handled, we secured a $450,000 settlement for a client who suffered prolonged physical and sexual abuse — an amount notably higher than the Scheme’s maximum of $150,000. This compensation more accurately reflected the severe impact of the abuse on the client’s psychiatric health and their ability to maintain relationships and employment. 

During your free consultation, our team can help you to make an informed decision on what the best course of action for you is — the course that will most likely result in you receiving the redress you deserve. 

Your compensation entitlements 

Compensation through the National Redress Scheme is capped at $150,000, alongside a personal apology from the liable institute and instalments covering the cost of therapy. 

Civil claims offer a broader scope, enabling claimants to receive both economic and non-economic damages:

  • Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses. These losses not only include lost income as a result of the harm but also lost future income potential. It extends further to cover the costs of medicines, therapy, domestic arrangements and other expenses that have arisen due to the abuse. 
  • Non-economic damages, or ‘pain and suffering,’ are mental health-related impairments. Those who’ve experienced trauma are commonly diagnosed with mental health conditions, whether depression, PTSD, or others. These damages compensate for the psychological impact and diminished quality of life experienced by the claimant.


In rare cases, claimants may receive exemplary damages. This is a form of compensation that is intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious or malicious conduct and to serve as a deterrent to other individuals and institutions.

While the amount you may receive through a civil claim largely depends on your state and individual circumstances, we’ve found the majority of civil claims result in a compensation payout higher than Scheme claims. 

In the case of the Western Sydney Catholic School, we achieved a settlement of $420,000. This case particularly highlighted the extensive and lasting effects of abuse on a person’s life. Our client, who endured sexual abuse by a school authority figure, faced challenges in both their personal and professional life due to the trauma experienced. The compensation acknowledged not only the past suffering but also provided a means to support the client’s future, including their desire to seek psychological help and pursue higher education.

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Download your guide today for free and make sure that you are aware of the facts and information you need to maximise your damages claim.


Proven solicitors and barristers

GMP Law has an established track record of getting people in need the justice they deserve. 

For decades, our team has been leading the way and fighting for people just like you. While we commonly represent sexual abuse survivors, we also specialise in motor accident, public liability, medical negligence, workers’ compensation claims, among others.

Our solicitors and barristers have a winning history you can rely on.

We're here to help

Contact us for no-obligation legal advice about your claim.

Free Resources
Our guide to maximising legal claims

Download your guide today for free and make sure that you are aware of the facts and information you need to maximise your damages claim.

“I really appreciate all the hard work you put in for me during my case. I only have the highest regard for you and your team!”

Our Client
Our Team

Meet the sexual abuse claims team

Meet some of the diverse and dynamic compensation lawyers that support our clients with their sexual abuse claims.

We're here to help maximise your compensation

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of our compensation experts, or make an enquiry online now.

Gerard Malouf
About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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