Victims can Hit Back at Abusers
Most people are now aware of the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission that has shone a disturbing light on to institutionalised abuse within the clergy, schools and other community groups.
Australians have been justifiably shocked and horrified at the extent of abuse in many of our most important institutions.
The Anglican Church has been the latest religious organisation to feel the heat at the Royal Commission, after the release of data that showed 1082 people had made child sex abuse complaints about 569 alleged perpetrators in the Anglican Church in Australia, while the church admitted it only took notice when abuse survivors became a threat.
One of the many reasons the Royal Commission was created to give victims the opportunity to come forward and tell their stories of suffering. It is hoped that those stories will allow better laws and systems to prevent sexual assault or failing that, recognise when it occurs and appropriately deal with perpetrators and assist victims.
Claims for compensation for victims are now also available. Such claims provide another avenue for victims to tell their story and to receive compensation following often great suffering.
Previously victims were restricted to bringing claims within short periods such as three years or in some cases 12 years.
Time limits for bringing claims for sexual or serious physical abuse have now been removed for those suffering such abuse when aged under 18 years. The Limitation Amendment (Child Abuse) Act 2016 now allows claims to be brought when the sexual or serious physical abuse occurred many decades ago.
We often see victims of institutional sexual abuse raise concerns about proving the fact of abuse so many years after the event. Victims have also been afraid of taking on a powerful church or institution.
However, the Royal Commission has effectively exposed the tactics that some churches and other institutions have adopted to try to protect child abusers within their ranks (and by implication, intimidate their victims). These organisations, in most cases, have now been forced to repudiate those tactics.
Hve you or someone you know been abused at anytime throughout your life? You can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, ask us a question via email or even chatting with you online.