The Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 1 May, citing growing financial strain caused by claims stemming from over 50 years of clerical abuse, and the COVID-19 related shutdown of church services, leading to a drop in income.
On the 10 February, 2020 the Supreme Court of Victoria embarked on a specialised Institutional Liability List to deal only with civil claims related to institutional abuse.
The new list will include claims for damages which have arisen from or following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and/or the State Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations.
On 28 April, the Australian Government announced that all state and territory governments, institutions named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse or in an application received by the National Redress Scheme (NRS) must provide a clear written statement setting out their intention to join the NRS by no later than 30 June 2020. These institutions will be expected to join the NRS as soon as possible, but no later than 31 December 2020.
The number of institutions participating in the Australian National Redress Scheme (NRS) has more than doubled as more institutions have completed the necessary steps to join the NRS.
As at 6 February 2020, 162 non-government institutions are now participating in the NRS – up from 67 last year, in addition to the Commonwealth, state and territory governments.
On 12 March the High Court in Australia deferred ruling on an appeal to overturn the conviction of former Vatican treasurer George Pell for sexually assaulting two teenage choirboys in the 1990s for which he was sentenced to a six year jail term.
After two days of legal arguments, the High Court of Australia said it was still considering whether to allow the appeal.
On Tuesday this week the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was forced to file for bankruptcy as it faces legal challenges over thousands of allegations of sexual abuse. It lodged papers in Delaware Court as it attempts to negotiate a compensation plan for abuse victims.
The BSA which has been in existence for 110 years was founded in 1910 and it has kept confidential files since the 1920s listing staff and volunteers accused of sexual abuse, for the purposes of keeping predators away from children.
On 29 November 2019, the Australian Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, hosted the Ministers Redress Scheme Governance Board, which is a meeting of the relevant Ministers with responsibility for the National Redress Scheme (NRS) in their state or territory.
Those in attendance noted that while redress has been paid to several hundred survivors to date (975 as of 03/01/2020) the administration of the NRS is not providing the fast, simple and trauma-informed response survivors deserve.