A breath of fresh air or more of the same?

Calls for an inquiry in to catholic clergy abuse have been called for in Victoria. But the Sydney Morning Herald posed the question though: “is an independent public inquiry into atholic sex abuse a priority? It thought  the temperature was tepid. It reported that the Victoria state government said it was deferring any decision on an inquiry into the subject until after another inquiry into the protection of vulnerable children reports in late January 2012. The current inquiry, chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Philip Cummins, is not investigating abuse within religious bodies in general. But the office of state Attorney-General Robert Clark says this inquiry might report on issues germane to clergy and church workers. What, then, the SMH asks other than employing a convenient delaying tactic, is stopping the government from proceeding? The questions that might or might not arise from Mr Cummins's findings do not preclude a more specific inquiry. ertainly, considerable public outrage should be sufficient grounds, in the SMH’s opinion and I would share that, alone for instigating an inquiry. As he ge reported Mr Clark has received at least five requests in the past two months for an inquiry. This included requests from a group of more than 30 victims, from a lawyer who wants an investigation into clergy abuses in Ballarat that led to at least 26 suicides, and from Victorian Labor MP Anne Barker, who has called for an inquiry similar to the one conducted by the Irish govern-ment. Ms Barker's suggestion is backed by Melbourne lawyer Judy Courtin, who writes on The ge's Opinion page that ''imminent action is paramount''.  As Ms Courtin points out, the Catholic Church's internal alternative-justice processes for dealing with alleged sex offenders are well isolated from the normal judiciary. For one, to find the appropriate legal entity to sue is not easy; and the church is further protected by the ''vicarious liability'' legal precedent that means, in effect, an employer or school authority cannot be held liable for a teacher's sexual assaults. I note the SMH  points out that 'Melbourne Response'', the Victorian version of the church's national ''Towards Healing'' investigative process, has compensated almost 300 victims of sexual abuse since it was established in 1996. But there are it said significant drawbacks: relatively low compensation rates; a deed of release preventing any further civil action; and no external review process. This is the price in my opinion paid unfortunately with some schemes of this nature for avoiding the anguish of court proceedings.  The SMH also adds that in July last year, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, circulated a pastoral letter on sexual abuse that left no doubt of his strong personal convictions, and that it was time the church faced the truth and ''not attempt to disguise, diminish or avoid in any way those who have betrayed their sacred trust''. For all these reasons, the church should now be subjected to the independent scrutiny of a proper inquiry. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/child-abuse-and-the-church-no-more-excuses-20111013-1lmzo.html#ixzz1ah7BLtrp http://theage.com.au Alan Collins alc@verisona.com (0)2392492472


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."


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