News State Victoria Victorian government to make it easier for sexual assault victims to sue
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Victorian government to make it easier for sexual assault victims to sue

Lightning strikes over St Patrick's Cathedral in Bendigo. Photo: AAP
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Victoria is set to abolish the so-called Ellis defence, which has prevented child sexual abuse survivors from suing organisations such as churches.

Under changes announced by the state Labor government on Tuesday, unincorporated associations like the Catholic Church would have to nominate an entity able to pay damages.

“For too long a legal loophole has effectively prevented child abuse survivors from suing some organisations due to a technicality,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.

“All survivors should have equal rights to take legal action and seek redress, and our laws will give them the chance to get the justice and compensation they deserve.”

The Ellis defence refers to a 2007 court case bought by abuse survivor John Ellis.

The NSW Court of Appeal found the Catholic Church was not a legal entity which could be sued for abuse.

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula said he “would be both shocked and amazed if anyone … didn’t provide this bill speedy passage”.

The legislation will be introduced into the parliament on Tuesday, with the government hoping to have it passed within months.

-AAP