Category: Child Abuse

What is the Burden of Proof in Sexual Abuse Claims? “How do I prove my claim?”

by John McKiggan






School for the Deaf Students make sexual abuse claims

Recently former residents of the Nova Scotia School for the Deaf have come forward with allegations about childhood sexual abuse. I have been representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse for almost 25 years. In most cases the allegations that give rise to the claims are decades old. So the most common question that I get asked about by survivors is: “How do I prove that I was abused?”

What is “The Burden of Proof”?

Sexual Abuse Claims at Nova Scotia School for the Deaf

by John McKiggan






Former residents of the Interprovincial School for the Education of the Deaf, more commonly called the Nova Scotia School for the Deaf have come forward with allegations that they were physically and sexually abused while they were students of the school.

The school was originally in Halifax and children from all the Atlantic provinces were sent to the school for education. In 1960 the governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick assumed joint responsibility for operation of the school and moved it to Amherst Nova Scotia where is was renamed the Interprovincial School for the Education of the Deaf.

While these allegations have not yet been proven in court they follow a string of other institutional abuse claims from various Residential Schools across the country where children were forced to lived in isolation, separated from their parents. Many of these children subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

Ghomeshi-Cosby Accusations Highlight Differences Between Canada-US Sex Assault Laws

by John McKiggan






Jian Ghomeshi criminal charges

There are few Canadians that haven’t heard about the sexual assault allegations being made against former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi. Two weeks ago Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of physical assault. To date nine women have come forward stating they were victims of sexual or physical assault by Ghomeshi. Some of the allegations date back a decade or more.

Bill Cosby facing sex assault allegations but no criminal charges

Home for Colored Children Compensation Program Adopts Indian Residential School Model

by John McKiggan






Class action settlement announced

A 16 year fight for compensation ended yesterday when the Province of Nova Scotia and former residents of the Home for Colored Children announced the details of a class action filed by former residents.

About 140 former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children filed a class action seeking compensation for what they describe as years of neglect and emotional, physical and sexual abuse suffered by children in the school.

Will a Public Database of Pedophiles Protect Children? The answer may surprise you.

by John McKiggan






The federal government recently introduced legislation to create a public database of child sex offenders.

The bill increases the sentences for child sex crimes and requires sex offenders to provide information when they travel and also facilitates information sharing between various law enforcement agencies.

As an advocate for survivors of childhood abuse I support legislation increasing the penalties for child sex offences.

Catholic Archbishop in Alberta, NWT Apologizes for Residential School Abuse: Irony Abounds

by John McKiggan






CTV News has reported that Archbishop Richard Smith of the Archdiocese of Edmonton has issued a formal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in running the Indian Residential Schools.

Smith said:

“…we the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories apologize to those who experienced sexual and physical abuse in residential schools under Catholic administration.”

How Will Pope Francis Respond to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis?

by John McKiggan






Newly ordained Pope Francis has certainly started his papacy by making the headlines. He turned down the luxurious Papal housing in the Apostolic Palace in favour of a simple hotel room, he travelled to a juvenile detention centre to wash the feet of the inmates, and he has issued what is seen as a strong statement against sex abusers in the clergy.

Pope Francis, the head of 1.2 billion followers of the Roman Catholic faith, called on the Church to act against clergy sex abuse. He demanded that the Bishops’ conferences around the world need to step up to disciplining the priests and assisting the victims. USA Today reports, :

“This could be an indication that he will move from a strongly centralized government of the church of 1.2 billion people to one that places increased authority locally.”

Did the Moncton Archdiocese Break the Law by not Reporting Priest Sexual Abuse?

by John McKiggan






Priests Suspended After Alleged Child Abuse

Last week the Archdiocese of Moncton announced that two of it’s priests Rev. Yvon Arsenault and Rev. Irois Despres had been removed: “from any ministry whatsoever following allegations of serious sexual abuse on minors on their part.”

Concern Over Failure to Report

New Research May Help Victims of Traumatic Abuse

by John McKiggan






Memories of Abuse
As a lawyer who helps people with sexual abuse compensation claims one of the most common challenges my clients face is dealing with the intrusive effects of the memories of their abuse.

In the text Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment the authors John Briere and Catherine Scott identify several areas where memories of childhood abuse may effect psychological function in adults:

Negative pre-verbal assumptions and relational schemata: In other words, children who are victims of abuse tend to have a disproportionately negative self image. As adults, survivors become too defensive, angry or disconnected to have healthy inter-personal relationships.

Child Pornography Reporting Laws

by John McKiggan






A new California law mandates that computer technicians who discover child pornography MUST report it immediately to a specified child protection agency. Laws like this are proven to help catch sexual predators and those who protect them. A recent example is the convictions of Father Shawn Ratigan and Bishop Robert Finn.

Bishop Failed to Report Child Porn

In December of 2010 a computer technician found “alarming pictures” of children on Reverend Ratigan’s laptop. Despite the pictures being shown to Bishop Finn, the Bishop decided not to report Ratigan to police.

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