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Home | Compensation Law | Church and School Abuse

Compensation for victims of Church and School Abuse

The Queensland offices of Turner Freeman provide legal advice to victims of childhood sexual and physical abuse including in institutions.  Many of these victims are describing their experiences to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In addition to participating in the Royal Commission, you may have separate legal entitlements to redress or compensation that we can advise you about.

Our experienced lawyers will advise you about your legal options on a strictly confidential basis.

Assistance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Peoples

We have assisted Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Island peoples access compensation for abuse from adults and children whilst in institutional care and at missions in regional Queensland and the Cape including –

  • St Josephs Home Neerkol
  • Woorabinda
  • Yarrabah Mission
  • Boys Home
  • Boys Town
  • Pormparaaw Mission
  • Mapoon
  • Kowanyama Mission
  • Westbrook
  • Carramar

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

In January 2013, the Commonwealth Government established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia.

The Royal Commission is investigating sexual and physical abuse of children while under the care of institutions and organisations.  It is also examining how they responded.

The Commission is hearing about past and current child sexual abuse and will make findings and recommendations about how organisations with responsibility for children can improve the way they deal with these matters in the future.

Institutions and organisations that are the subject of inquiry at the Royal Commission include private and government organisations such as schools, churches and other religious organisations, sporting clubs, children’s services, orphanages and foster care.

The Royal Commission is investigating how institutions can better protect children, how they can achieve best practice in reporting and responding to incidents, and how to deal with the impact of child sexual abuse.

The purpose of the Royal Commission is to identify what has happened in the past and make recommendations to prevent failures in the future.

For more information visit the Royal Commission website.

How does the Royal Commission work?

The Royal Commission is hearing directly from people about their experience of child sexual abuse in institutions. If you have been a victim, a survivor or a witness of a child sexual abuse in institutions, you can contact the Commission in writing, over the phone or in private informal meetings.

Representatives from institutions will participate in formal public hearings.  The Commission is inviting people to tell their stories and provide relevant information.

How to contact the Royal Commission

If during childhood you were a victim of sexual abuse while under the care of an institution you can share your story with the Royal Commission. Telling your story can assist the Commission to understand what happened to children while in an institution and make recommendations so that children are protected in the future.

The Royal Commission provides the opportunity for sufferers of child abuse to be heard. Sharing your story with the Royal Commission may be the first time you have talked about the abuse.   When it comes to sharing your story the Royal Commission will assist you throughout this process.

You can tell your story in a variety of ways. You can make a written statement, talk to a representative of the Royal Commission, talk directly in a private session or make a submission about how things could be changed in the future.

The Commission can put you in touch with professionals such as counsellors or support groups for survivors of child sexual abuse and their families.

The Royal Commission can be contacted by calling 1800 099 340, by email at or by writing to GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001.

After sharing your story you may wish to consider legal options and our lawyers at Turner Freeman are here to assist you.


Knowmore is an independent service that gives free legal advice to people who are considering telling their story or providing information to the Royal Commission.

Knowmore’s mission is to help people who come to them to:

  • understand the Royal Commission and how it works.
  • understand legal issues and their options
  • provide support in making a decision to communicate with the Royal Commission
  • be enabled to tell their story or provide information to the Royal Commission if they so choose. Knowmore have trained and highly experienced staff who can ensure you have the information and advice you need before deciding whether to tell your story and they can guide you through the process.
  • You can contact knowmore by calling 1800 605 762 or 02 8267 7400, by email at or by writing to PO Box 20319 World Square NSW 2002.
  • Knowmore’s goal is to help prevent sexual abuse of children happening in institutions in the future.

Turner Freeman is working with knowmore in providing legal advice to survivors of institutional child abuse.


Bravehearts’ mission is to stop child sexual assault in our society. They were instrumental in the establishment of the Royal Commissions and in drafting the terms of reference.

Bravehearts provides counselling services and a Court support program for survivors of child sexual assault. They provide information and advice about communicating with the Royal Commission. They can assist in preparing written statements and provide support persons so they can accompany their clients to private sessions. Bravehearts also provide support for participating in public hearings in the Royal Commission.

Bravehearts can be contacted on their Information and Support Line 1800 272 831, by email at or by writing to them at PO Box 575 Arundel, Queensland 4214.

Redress and compensation for people who have suffered from child sexual abuse in institutions

The Royal Commission has uncovered extensive sexual abuse of children in institutions in Australia. The responsible institutions should be held to account and survivors should consider their options in respect of financial redress or compensation.

The Royal Commission will make findings on the potential means by which survivors of institutional child sexual abuse could receive redress. The Commission has received submissions and will publish a final report with recommendations for a potential redress scheme in mid 2015.

Over and above any redress, you may also have a legal entitlement to claim compensation by making a civil claim for damages against the institution responsible for the abuse.

Compensation claims can be complex. Who should be sued and whether any time limits for bringing a claim can be extended are issues that need to be carefully considered.

Turner Freeman has successfully acted for clients in claims for compensation against institutions including schools and church bodies. You can contact us so we can advise you about your potential legal entitlements.

The experienced lawyers at Turner Freeman aim to make the legal process as easy as possible.

We will investigate your claim and act for you on a “No Win, No Fee” basis.

Resources and Links

Service Name Number Website
Knowmore 1800 605 762
Bravehearts 1800 272 831
1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
blue knot foundation 1300 657 380
beyondblue 1300 224 636
Care Leavers Australia Network 1800 008 774
Child Migrants Trust 1800 040 509
Child Wise 1800 991 099
CREATE Foundation 1800 655 105
Find and Connect 1800 161 109
headspace Website, and drop in centres only
Lifeline 13 11 14
Relationships Australia 1800 025 441
Suicide Call Back Centre 1300 659 467


Call 13 43 63 to speak with one of our specialist lawyers in Queensland. Our offices are in Brisbane, Logan, North Lakes, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns.

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