Maddens' abuse register draws nationwide response

HUNDREDS of people from across Australia have contacted a Warrnambool legal company to register their interest in a forthcoming royal commission into child sex abuse by institutions.

Maddens Lawyers told The Standard it was inundated with calls after it launched a victims register a week ago.

"We've had hundreds of people from all over Australia, many of whom said they had never told their stories before," the firm's personal injury department chief Gary Foster said.

"The response is sending a message to the government that it needs to consider setting up a compensation scheme.

"But it's not just the money, it's a matter of having their story heard and validated."

Maddens aims to make a submission to the royal commission seeking a similar model implemented by the Irish government in recent years where eligible victims were entitled to monetary compensation.

"The Irish scheme was very user-friendly and sympathetic and paid the legal fees of plaintiffs," Mr Foster said.

Mr Foster said of the hundreds who contacted the firm, the majority said their incidents related to Catholic Church institutions.

He said there was likely to be three to four solicitors and six para-legal staff assigned to the sex abuse issue including members of the team which worked on the Black Saturday bushfires class action and the Irish sex abuse cases.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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