Landmark win for WA abuse survivors sends strong message to institutions

12 March 2020
Lawyers for abuse survivors have welcomed today’s landmark Western Australian District Court decision which sees the first sexual abuse civil claim following the removal of time limits in the State.

Maurice Blackburn WA Head of Abuse Law Gemma Taylor said the $1.3 million win for abuse survivor John Lawrence was hugely significant and would improve access to justice for survivors in Western Australia seeking compensation for harm caused.

“This is a momentous outcome today for all abuse survivors in Western Australia for whom seeking financial compensation should now be a much easier and fairer process thanks to the courage of Mr Lawrence,” Ms Taylor said.

“Today’s decision will help to set the standard nationally for the informal settlement of historical child sexual abuse claims which will greatly assist other survivors.

Ms Taylor said Western Australia now leads the way when it comes to compensating survivors of historical abuse through civil claims.

“With this significant awarding of damages today the West Australian courts have acknowledged the substantial impact of historical sexual abuse on individuals, regardless of an individual’s social or economic background.

“It was particularly pleasing to see the Court awarding historical damages against the Christian Brothers despite them appallingly seeking to rely on Mr Lawrence’s difficult childhood and educational history.

“This decision sends a strong message to institutions in Western Australia that it is now time to step up and do the right thing in properly compensating survivors or face the consequences,” she said.

Media inquiries:  Jacob O’Shaughnessy at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on 0428 814 037.

Practice Areas: