Child abuse survivor now able to make civil claim against church

Man looking out to sea

Our specialist lawyers in sexual assault secured six figure compensation through Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This was for the sexual abuse our client experienced as a child by his local priest. They are now also pursuing a civil claim against the church due to changes in legislation.

In this case, our client became an altar boy at his local church when he was around 7 years old. Sometimes, our client would be alone with the priest. On these occasions, the priest sexually assaulted our client. The abuse lasted several years.

Understandably, the abuse left deep and long lasting scars. Our client suffers from mental health issues including depression and mood swings. The trauma he went through impacted on his marriage and his ability to work.

It wasn’t until later in life that our client was able to report the crime to the police.

Vicarious liability

In certain circumstances, a survivor can sue the organisation the perpetrator was employed, associated or affiliated to. This includes schools, religious orders, football clubs and Associations such as the Scouts. 

These organisations can be held at fault for the actions of their employee where the Court determines that it is fair, just and reasonable to hold them responsible for the wrongdoings of the worker in their enterprise.

Civil claim against the church

Due to changes in the law in October 2017, it now means that survivors of abuse, in some cases, may be able to make a civil claim against the individual or the institution responsible.

In this case, the priest is no longer alive so it was not possible to pursue a civil claim against the individual responsible. However, there is reason to believe that the church was aware of the sexual abuse the priest committed against young children which may make it possible for our lawyers to hold the church accountable.

Although these changes open up avenues of legal justice for some survivors of abuse, not every case can be brought forward. However, it is important to seek legal advice and find out if it is possible to take legal action.

If you would like to speak to us, please call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our online enquiry form and someone will contact you directly.