SNAP Applauds Australian Legal Reform that Benefits Survivors
For immediate release, October 22 2018
Last week, an Australian Parliament struck down an archaic legal defense that presented a major barrier to survivors seeking accountability and justice.
The New South Wales Parliament formally abolished the “Ellis Defence,” a legal stance that allowed the catholic church to hide behind an archaic and arcane designation of “non-entity.” In practice, this meant that survivors could not formally sue Catholic dioceses in court, regardless of the legitimacy of the claims, helping to ensure that cover-ups stayed covered-up and that accountability would be out of reach.
We applaud the Australian survivors and their legal advocates who campaigned for years to overturn this unjust and unfair law. No institution should be above the law and no survivor should be barred from seeking justice because of technicalities. We hope that other provinces in Australia follow suit and eliminate the laws allowing the Ellis Defence to continue. This is a simple and straightforward step to take that will better promote healing for survivors, justice for crimes, and accountability for those who allowed them to go on.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.