This state law applies only to the Catholic Church, as the Anglican Church in Australia is subject to the court system. The law was designed to separate the church’s trust property from its pastoral duties.
A draft bill entitled Justice for Victims would permit victims of sexual abuse to sue the Catholic Church’s trust instead of relying on forced negotiations with the Catholic Church. Currently, involuntary talks with the Catholic Church leaves victims with only a few thousand dollars in compensation.
When mediation is involuntary and no remedies outside that process are possible, victims of sexual abuse are left feeling abused once more. A victim, who as teenager was allegedly abused for six years by a Passionist Brothers’ priest in Northern Sydney, said that mediating with the Catholic Church was “very insulting” and “dis-empowering.”
When mediating a dispute is involuntary, victims are left feeling inadequately compensated for actual expenses incurred, according to the group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.