Claims for Sexual Abuse and Assault
Megan Ellis & Company was one of the first Canadian law firms to devote a major part of its practice to work on behalf of women and men seeking compensation for injuries suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. The firm has more than 20 years of experience successfully representing clients against individual abusers, their estates, and institutions, including religious organizations, associations, and governments.
Since 1991, the firm’s lawyers have pioneered a body of case law and contributed to legislative changes that have led to making compensation available to many survivors of sexual assaults and abuse, including the following:
- successfully arguing that the time in which to bring a claim for sexual abuse should be extended until the victim understands the effects of the abuse;
- working to change the legislation in British Columbia to remove the Limitation Act as an obstacle to bringing claims for damages for abuse;
- protecting victims’ privacy;
- successfully arguing that reduced past earnings and future earning capacity should be recognized as part of the losses suffered by victims of sexual assault and abuse;
- precedent setting compensation awards to clients;
- developing the law of evidence and disclosure in sexual abuse and assault cases;
- advocating for changes to Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to prevent abusers from using the bankruptcy process to avoid paying financial compensation to their victims;
- participating in the British Columbia Law Institute’s Project Committee on Civil Remedies for Sexual Assault;
- participating in the Institutional Abuse Study Panel for the Law Commission of Canada; and
- speaking at seminars to educate lawyers and other professionals about sexual abuse and assault claims.
Clients are provided with candid, objective assessments of their claims, including whether there is sufficient evidence to succeed at trial, the potential range of compensation, and whether there is a reasonable likelihood of recovering money from the defendant in question. Clients receive a realistic appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and advice on options for negotiated settlements in the context of their personal circumstances in what can be a lengthy, difficult, and uncertain process.
Advice and evaluation of claims is also provided to executors and administrators of estates where suits have been brought against deceased persons.