Australia – more institutions join but redress is slow

The latest update from the National Redress Scheme (NRS) in Australia which was published last week advises that on 18 April 2019, the following institutions joined the Scheme:

  • Benedictine Community of New Norcia
  • Child and Family Services Ballarat (CAFS)
  • Scouts Tasmania
  • Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Schools

The fifth group of Anglican organisations have also joined, represented by Anglican Representative Limited. They are:

  • Anglican Diocese of Armidale
  • Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
  • Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta
  • Anglicare North Queensland
  • Anglicare Victoria

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The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (‘the Lanzarote Convention’) and its incorporation into UK legislation

We have already reviewed the contents and emerging themes of IICSA’s, recently published, interim report. One particular point it made in relation to professional and political issues was the improvement that could be made by leaders in government and other institutions working with children in relation to protecting children, preventing and responding to child sexual abuse.  Continue reading

Data protection and child protection

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, recently wrote to the largest social media companies following up on a meeting he had with them before Christmas 2017. He indicated his discontent with the slow progress they were making in areas such as age verification, screen time limits and cyber bullying.  He gave them until 30 April to respond with details of the steps they have taken in relation to those points and their intentions in relation to ‘healthy screen time’ for young users.  Possible legislation was threatened if the voluntary joint approach continued to prove unsatisfactory.  The details of their responses have yet to be made public.

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Settled or not? Some claims could reactivate

The Supreme Court in Dublin recently gave judgment in three connected cases relating to abuse by Fr. Brendan Smyth. Three plaintiffs had made allegations of abuse (with the various periods of abuse covering 1969-1988) and issued court proceedings in Northern Ireland in 1996.

Initially, two of the claims were against Cardinal Daly (as Primate of All Ireland), the then Provincial for the Norbertine Order (of which Fr. Smyth was a member), the local Abbot of the Norbertine Abbey in Kilnacrott (where Brendan Smyth was based) and Brendan Smyth himself.  One of the plaintiffs claimed only against the Abbot and Brendan Smyth.

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Managing expectations

Recent developments across the jurisdictions have highlighted the difficulties faced by all those involved in dealing with abuse allegations.  The number and expectations of the different people involved presents significant problems in handling these matters in a professional yet sensitive way.

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Truth in numbers

As Operation Hydrant suggests there will be 30000 new reports of child sexual abuse during the life of the IICSA and the Truth Project opens in Manchester consideration can be made of experiences of other jurisdictions and the impact for England & Wales.
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A history of limitation and redress in Ireland

Recent blogs have looked at limitation in Scotland and the wider approach to limitation and redress. Whilst the preferred route in all jurisdictions seems to be for the removal of limitation periods in abuse claims, whether civil claims or redress, it is not always a straightforward process.  This can be seen from the history of redress and limitation which occurred in Ireland and which is summarised below. Continue reading