Religious Organisations, School Settings and Youth Organisations: Who’s Affected?

lawsuit investigation focuses on sexual abuse and sexual assault

We’re looking for residents of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia who have been sexually assaulted or abused in a religious or academic setting, or while participating in a youth program.

Lawyers are working to help individuals and families who have been affected by sexual assault or sexual abuse in the following settings:

  • Religious organizations (including the Catholic church, Latter-day Saints, Christian churches or Jehovah’s Witness)
  • Academic settings (including public or private schools)
  • Public or private daycares
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
  • Scouts Canada

Individuals who were sexually assaulted or sexually abused at church, school or during youth activities may be able to hold the perpetrators—as well as the institutions where the abuse occurred—accountable by filing a civil lawsuit.

Religious organisations, schools and other organizations that fail to report child sexual abuse to authorities may have been negligent.

A lawsuit against institutions that ignored reports of sexual violence, assault or abuse may allow individuals to hold them accountable for their actions and omissions through a legal verdict and/or compensation.

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one was sexually abused or assaulted at church, school or daycare, OR while participating in a youth program, you may be able to participate in a lawsuit investigation.

This investigation is open to residents of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

If you qualify, a lawyer will contact you for a FREE case evaluation.

Child Sexual Abuse and Assault

Sadly, many people are subjected to sexual victimisation, including abuse and assault, while they are children. The Canadian Medical Association Journal stated in 2014 that one in 10 individuals reported being sexually assaulted, abused, or otherwise sexually victimised as minors.

According to the Department of Justice, sexual offences against children are likely underreported; however, in 2009, children made up 58% of the victims of reported sexual offences. The Department notes that, in most cases, children know the person who assaulted or abused them. According to the agency, in 35% of these cases, the perpetrator is a family member.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is defined by Canada’s Criminal Code as “any unwanted sexual act done by one person to another or sexual activity without one person’s consent or voluntary agreement.”

The Criminal Code also defines sexual assault as sexual activity in which a person is pressured or forced under the threat of violence or weapons, or if the person is inebriated and unable to give consent.

Under the Criminal Code, children cannot legally consent to sexual activity depending on their age. Specifically, children under the age of 12 or 13 cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone more than two years older than them.

In addition, children under the age of 14 or 15 cannot consent to sexual activity with someone who is more than five years older than them. Further, anyone under the age of 17 cannot legally consent to sexual activity with someone in a position of authority or trust, such as a teacher, coach or religious figure.

What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse refers to unwanted sexual acts and conducts specifically towards children.

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, child sexual abuse encompasses a wide range of situations and behaviours. Abuse can be a one-time incident or take place over many years. In addition, there can be more than one perpetrator.

Sexual abuse can include offences without contact, as well, including exposing children to sexually explicit material, like porn, points out the Centre.

Child Sexual Victimisation in Churches

A number of religious organizations in Canada have been accused of failing to properly respond to accusations that priests and other clergy members sexually abused and/or assaulted children.

The Roman Catholic Church has faced a worldwide scandal over claims that priests and other members of the clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing and assaulting children were being protected by the faith institution. In fact, a remarkable court ruling in a class action lawsuit filed by former residents of an orphanage who claimed they suffered decades of sexual victimisation and other abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers of Ireland found that the Catholic Church was liable for providing the Brothers “with the power, environment, and tools to carry out their wrongdoing virtually undetected.”

Class action lawsuits over alleged sexual assaults are also currently pending in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec, and B.C.

“This exposure,” said one expert of lawsuits filed against the Catholic Church and other religious organizations, “families coming forward, victims coming forward, is critical to get the problem dealt with.”

Indeed, the Catholic Church is not the only religious organization facing allegations over child sexual victimization. A now-deceased Anglican priest, Gordon Dominey, allegedly sexually assaulted boys at an Edmonton youth jail in the 1980s, according to a class action lawsuit filed against the Alberta government and the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton.

Sexual Violence at Schools

Unfortunately, sexual assault and abuse can and does occur at schools, even starting as early as daycare. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by teachers and other school officials, as well as by other students.

According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, 1,272 children were allegedly sexually abused or assaulted by K-12 school employees between 1997 and 2017. The study found that most of the perpetrators were certified teachers and many also hold positions as sports coaches. Most victims reported in the study were female.

Scouts Canada

The youth organization Scouts Canada has also faced criticism over its child protection policies recently.

According to a CBC News report, Scouts Canada volunteers in Manitoba undergo a criminal background check, but the organization does not check the child abuse registry.

In addition, a former Scouts leader was reportedly convicted of sex crimes against children in Ottawa in 2019.

The perpetrator was convicted of gross indecency for crimes committed while he was a Scout leader between 1972 and 1977. In addition, CBC News reports that the same man, Donald Sullivan, volunteered with a scouts group in Newfoundland.

Join a Free Child Sexual Abuse and Assault Lawsuit Investigation

This investigation is open to residents of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia who were sexually assaulted or abused at church, school, or while participating in youth programs, such as Scouts Canada. 

Fill out the form on this page for a free case evaluation.

Get Help – It’s Free

Free Sexual Abuse and Assault Case Evaluation

U.S. citizens, click here for the U.S. Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuit.

U.S. citizens, click here for the U.S. Youth Organizations & Institutions Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit.

U.S. citizens, click here for the U.S. Sexual Abuse or Assault in Schools Lawsuit.

If you qualify, a lawyer will contact you to discuss the details of your potential case at no charge to you.

PLEASE NOTE: If you want to participate in this investigation, it is recommended that you reply to the law firm if they call or email you.

E-mail any problems with this form to:
Questions@ca.TopClassActions.com.

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After you fill out the form, the lawyers who work with Top Class Actions will contact you if you qualify to let you know if an individual lawsuit or class action lawsuit is best for you.

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