Enquiries and Cameras

I posted on the blog very recently an Australian report concerning the abuse of disabled children, and there has been some further coverage which I found interesting. The latest coverage says that catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson doesn't believe an independent inquiry is needed into the sexual abuse of disabled children but says he understands the pain suffered by their parents. Why do  people in authority and  organisations say this but then refuse to accept responsibility, refuse an enquiry, let alone compensate the victims? Maybe they do feel the "pain", but do they? Maybe in this case the Archbishop did feel the "pain"and, hopefully, for the victims the right thing has been done by them and their families. I ask the questions though because this  type of case is only too familiar to those involved in representing victims. An ABC “Four Corners” program about a ‘bus driver's sexual abuse of disabled children at South Australia's St Ann's Special School between 1986 to 1991 said the church was given legal advice not to mention sex abuse charges when it sacked Brian Perkins in 1991. The parents of some of the children believe there was a cover-up and are calling for a full independent inquiry. They say the only inquiry that ever occurred failed to mention the children and contained no recommendations. It is reported that the archbishop maintains he believes there was no cover-up - just confusion about how to deal with the problem. And that he didn't think an inquiry was needed because since he arrived in 2001 he had done all he could to bring Perkins to justice and help the families.

 "It is a terrible thing to see the reality that was shown last night on Four Corners, everything about that is just really terrible, I wish it had never happened," Archbishop Wilson told B radio. "I don't think there is any need for an independent inquiry ... since 2001 we have dealt adequately and properly with all these matters. "I really understand the terrible pain that these people have experienced, because of what has happened, and I really have done all I could to help them in that." Perkins, who worked as a paid and later volunteer driver at the school, was charged with sex offences when police uncovered pornographic photos of children in his possession. He was granted bail and fled, with nothing happening until 2001 when a group of parents discovered the abuse and demanded answers. Perkins was later jailed for 10 years and six months after pleaded guilty to five offences involving three students, even though the abuse involved 36 intellectually disabled students. Perkins died in jail in 2009. he atholic hurch investigation into the abuse found it failed to conduct a background check on Perkins, who had previous sex offences, and that the church and its agencies had also failed to properly exercise their duties in other areas. South Australian Dignity for Disability MP Kelly Vincent says governments are failing people with disabilities but it can be stopped. She wants education for children and video cameras placed in buses carrying intellectually-disabled children. Now that is a constructive idea?    For advice about pursuing a claim for child abuse please contact me. Alan Collins alc@verisona.com (0) 2392492472 Alternatively please contact my colleague Charles Derham crd@verisona.com (0) 2392492472


Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

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She is also a member of Verisona Law’s Historic Abuse Team and undertakes documentary analysis, work relating to case evidence and the development of legal arguments to secure successful settlements. She is fluent in German and Persian.

Lisa also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law.

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Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

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