Clergy and Institutional Abuse Claims

Child abuse survivors speak out

Australia’s dark history of clerical and institutional abuse of children finally came to light.
After decades of denial and disbelief, the voices of child abuse survivors have been being heard.
In 2009, hundreds of survivors gathered in Canberra to hear the Prime Minister apologise to the 500,000 “Forgotten Australians” who experienced neglect and abuse in orphanages and institutions between 1930 and 1970.

“We support child sexual abuse victims in telling their stories to the Royal Commission, lifting the silence on these horrific crimes. Our team of specialist lawyers also work with clients to achieve the best possible compensation payments and meaningful apologies.”

In 2012, a Royal Commission was established to investigate how institutions like churches, schools and sporting groups have responded to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Survivors of child abuse who were once ashamed of their history and haunted by their abusers had the chance to tell their stories. They told of how their lives were devastated by what happened to them as children.


Compensation is very important. It can help restore you to a position in life which you might have occupied if not for the abuse that you suffered as a child.

Compensation and an apology can help you get your breakthrough. The fair recognition of your pain can help you begin to feel free from the controlling thoughts that have plagued you since you first suffered abuse.

The Royal Commission does not award compensation to victims, however it has recommended the establishment of a national redress scheme.

Civil litigation

Compensation for abuse survivors can also be awarded through a process called civil litigation. In light of the damning evidence presented at the Royal Commission, institutions are now more willing to negotiate just compensation payments. They are also more likely to apologise to survivors of abuse.

There has never been a better time to seek compensation for child sexual abuse.

“Thanks to the professionals at Kelso Lawyers my life has changed completely for the better. They fought for my right to be compensated for my terrible childhood abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.” Margaret Heathwood

Peter Kelso takes a special interest in survivors of clerical and institutional abuse. Peter grew up in institutional care and has experienced abuse first hand. Read Peter’s story. Now a lawyer, Peter has represented survivors of abuse for 30 years and has recovered tens of millions of dollars in compensation for them.

Please complete our claimant information form urgently if you think you may be entitled to child abuse compensation.

Our costs agreement for clerical and institutional abuse clients

Excessive legal costs and drawn-out legal processes can be a barrier to some abuse survivors seeking compensation. Clients with smaller or complex cases can also find it difficult to find a legal firm willing to take on their case.

We never want to see a matter where one of our clients receives less money than we do.

It is important to us that all clients – no matter how large or small their case – have equal access to our experience and expertise. For this reason, Kelso Lawyers have developed a costs agreement specifically for these clients. It is a no-win-no-fee style agreement that means that if we are unsuccessful, clients do not pay our costs.

Our sliding-scale approach to fees means that clients who receive large awards pay larger costs; while clients with small awards pay smaller costs. We never want to see a matter where one of our clients receives less money than we do.


If you feel like you might be eligible to claim compensation, please complete our claimant information form.