ABUSE IN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS

Religious institutions should be places of sanctuary and safety. Sometimes, though, religious leaders abuse their power and betray the trust of those in their congregation. Abuse at the hands of a religious leader can be traumatizing and isolating. It can happen in any denomination or faith; we have brought cases against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Catholic Church, and [any other denomination/church]. Abuse can be emotional, physical or sexual and can take place over days, months, or even years. No matter the kind or duration of abuse, it can have an impact.

Victims of abuse may be told that they are no longer welcome in their religious community because of what happened. But abuse is never the victim’s fault – no matter the circumstance.

If you or someone you know is being abused, or you suspect a religious leader to be abusing a child, contact the police immediately. They can take action to protect you or any children that may be in danger.

 

If you have been a victim of abuse then you have options available to you.

 

Who Can I Bring My Claim Against?

You can always bring a claim directly against your abuser.  Unfortunately, they may not have funds to pay you, or may have already died.  It may also be possible to bring a claim against the organisation that employed or supervised your abuser, even if it happened many years ago. 

How Is A Claim Brought Against A Religious Institution?

Even if you are over the age of 21, you can bring a claim of child abuse, because the Court recognises the impact that abuse can have on child and the time it may take to come to terms with the abuse.

Our cases rely on a principle called ‘vicarious liability,’ in which it has to be proven that the individual who perpetrated the abuse was put in a position of trust that allowed them to commit the abuse – in this case, by the religious institution that appointed them.

Once we establish vicarious liability, we will bring your best possible case to the defendants in order to get you the compensation you deserve. This may include gathering records that show how the abuse has affected you over your life and asking you to see a psychiatrist for a report. We know this can be a difficult process, but our Solicitors will guide you through every step.

If you are thinking about bringing a claim against a religious institution, contact us and have a confidential conversation with one of our experienced legal staff.

My Abuser Has Never Been Convicted, Can I Still Bring A Claim?

Even if you have never reported the abuse to police, you still may be able to bring a claim, because a claim can proceed without a criminal conviction.

It is easier to bring a civil claim if your abuser has been convicted, because the police already have records and evidence against them, but do not let this deter you from considering bringing a claim. If you would like to speak about the specifics of your case, you can contact us.

 

Do I Have To Bring My Claim In Court?

Even if you do not wish to take your abuser to court, you can still claim compensation for the harm you have suffered. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government funded scheme which provides compensation to people who have suffered abuse with awards ranging from £1,000 to £500,000.

This may be a good option if you wish to pursue an individual who cannot afford to compensate you or if the abuser has died.

A CICA claim is designed to be a last resort for those who cannot pursue another method of compensation. If you believe that this is the best option for you call our experienced legal team, who will talk you through your options and give you advice on your application.

Why AO Advocates?

Our experienced legal team has helped many survivors bring claims against their abusers or the religious institutions that were responsible. We understand that abuse is a difficult subject to talk about, and our team will handle any information that you give us with sensitivity and the strictest confidence.

We know that money cannot undo the damage caused by abuse, but we hope it can give you peace of mind and allow you to begin rebuilding your life.

Counselling can be essential to recovery, but it is also expensive. This is why we are leading the way in rehabilitative measures by requesting that defendants pay for treatment from the beginning of the claim instead of waiting to recover damages at the end of the claim.

 

Past Cases

We have brought a number of successful cases against

·         The Jehovah’s Witnesses

·         The Catholic Church

 

 

If you have any further questions, see our frequently asked questions page or contact us directly. Your initial consultation will always be free and confidential.