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.

CONTACT: Steven Spaner, SNAP Australia Coordinator ([email protected], +1 636.433.2511),  Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], +1-517-974-9009)

(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

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