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Leading abuse law firm Maurice Blackburn has secured a $1.1 million settlement for a survivor of sexual abuse at the notorious Warminda Hostel.

The settlement is believed to be the largest compensation figure publicly reported for a survivor of abuse at Warminda.

It follows a civil claim made on behalf of a survivor against the Uniting Church and the state of Western Australia.

AJ Coutts was a 15-year-old ward of the state when he was placed at the Warminda Hostel in East Victoria Park in 1978.

While at Warminda, he suffered significant abuse at the hands of hostel worker Martin Cooper, who has since been convicted and jailed for child abuse.

Mr Coutts, now aged 58, said the settlement was an important step in overcoming the trauma that happened to him as a child.

“I want the world to know what really happened to me at Warminda. And I want people to understand you can’t let kids be treated like this and get away with it.

“This settlement has given me closure. I just want to close the book on what happened and move on with my life.”

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Keziah Holdsworth, who acted for Mr Coutts, commended him on his courage in seeking accountability for what happened.

“No amount of financial compensation will ever erase the harm caused by the horrific abuse he experienced at Warminda,

“But this money will help him to put a roof over his head and achieve some financial stability for himself and his family in the coming years.

“We know there are many Warminda survivors out there that are still too traumatised to come forward.

“We hope this result sends the message that it’s never too late to seek justice and receive recognition through the civil system.”

Media enquiries: Chee Chee Leung, Maurice Blackburn, 0412 560 584 or


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Our media team advises and supports Maurice Blackburn lawyers and clients during all forms of media engagement, including video and television appearances, radio, online and print media.

Please direct media inquiries to, or contact team members directly via the phone numbers below.


Jade Knight

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    0417 969 438

Michael Cooney

General Manager Public Affairs

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9605 2700

Chee Chee Leung

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9045 6941
    0412 560 584

Paddy Murphy

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 8102 2003
    0490 297 391

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