- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Release of Report on Justice for Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic
Media Release - 28 May 2012

A report was released today into proposed legislation granting victims
of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church new remedies to sue the Church’s
property trusts to overcome defences the Church has used to deny victims
the right to just compensation.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge was joined by representatives from
victims groups and lawyers representing victims of clerical abuse, to
release the report into the draft Justice for Victims Bill.

Greens NSW Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“For too long victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy
have been shut out and this Bill brings them one step closer to

“Because the Church has locked all of its assets away in property
trusts that the law says are immune from compensation claims by victims
of sexual abuse, most victims of sexual abuse by the clergy have no real
legal remedy.

“This Bill will force the Church to defend sexual abuse claims on their
merits, rather than hiding behind technical legal defences, by giving
victims the ability to directly sue the Church’s property trusts.

Jemima Brewer, a Lawyer specialising in sexual abuse claims said:

“If the Church doesn’t pay for the abuse it caused then the NSW
taxpayer will foot the bill in health, the criminal justice system and
lost productivity of victims.

“Only the Catholic Church is beyond the law. Victims of abuse within
government schools or institutions run by other charitable organisations
can get compensation. Only the Catholic Church can escape paying
compensation by relying on the Ellis technicality,” Ms Brewer said.

According to SNAP Australia spokesperson, Nicky Davis, “What makes this
Bill so significant is that it represents an important first step
towards a fairer way to deal with victims of a very great wrong.

“Victims whose rights and lives have been trampled on by the desire of
a powerful organisation to protect its own interests above all other
considerations,” Ms Davis said.

Greens NSW Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“In the course of the consultation on this Bill more than 20 detailed
submissions, and many more informal messages of support, were received
calling for this to become law.

“The challenge is now for both the government and opposition to stand
up for the rights of victims and either support this Bill, or grant
their members a conscience vote to allow its real merits to be
considered by Parliament,” Mr Shoebridge said.

More information:

Media contact: Mark Riboldi 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

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