SNAP Applauds Australian Legal Reform that Benefits Survivors

By Steven Spaner, Zach Hiner
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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.



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