A prominent human rights lawyer is teaming up with a Queensland firm to provide pro bono advice to alleged victims of sexual abuse in a Jewish community in Melbourne.
With the help of a team from Shine Lawyers, human rights lawyer George Newhouse will advise the alleged victims as to whether they can sue Jewish institution Yeshivah College for damages.
"Cases of abuse require understanding and compassion. The legal process can sometimes exacerbate the trauma for the victim," Newhouse said in a statement.
The formation of the expert team - which will work with members of the Jewish Community, victims and their families to assist them through the legal process and resolve issues early on in the proceedings - follows a recent case of indecent assault against teenage students in St Kilda's Jewish Community.
The initial advice is being provided pro bono, but if the case against Yeshivah College goes to court Shine said it would consider it "regular client work".
The firm has a history in acting for victims of institutional abuse, starting with a young female abused by a boarding house master at a Toowoomba Preparatory School in 2001. At the time, those allegations contributed to the resignation of former Governor General Peter Hollingsworth who was the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane at the time of the scandal.
Stephen Roche, a partner at Shine, said there has been no decline in the incidences of child sexual assault despite children being more inclined nowadays to speak out.
"It is both tragic for the victims and family involved, as well as troubling for the community at large, that the occurrences of crimes like this continue," he said.