Confessed paedophile Maurice Van Ryn appears determined to put his victims through further pain, demanding they prove they are “damaged” if seeking compensation.
A civil case is set to begin in the District Court in November, with a spokesperson for the victims’ families saying they were worried that without potential compensation, several of the children could not afford the care they need.
Van Ryn is behind bars until 2028, but victims groups say the damage caused to his victims, some of whom are still under age, will last much longer.
In a legal letter to victims and their family members, Van Ryn’s lawyers warn they would be forced to prove through medical exams and cross-examination in court that his predatory behaviour had caused them harm.
Victims Of Crime Assistance League acting CEO Kerrie Thompson, said Van Ryn appeared determined to put his victims through “further psychological pain and grief”, and was attempting to “control his victims from behind bars.”
“The crimes he committed against young, vulnerable children were disgraceful and the victims are entitled to pursue compensation for the psychological and physical harm he has caused them,” Ms Thompson said.
“Childhood sexual abuse has a significant and long lasting impact on a victim’s life.
“In addition to ongoing mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, loss and shame, trauma from childhood sexual abuse often leads to ongoing physical health implications.
“The costs of ongoing health care for a victim of crime can be huge and compensation can help ease the financial burden.”
Founder and executive director of child protection advocacy group Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, said the courage and bravery shown by Van Ryn’s victims had protected “everyone else’s children in the community”.
“They didn’t choose this, Van Ryn chose them, and he now has to help them recover from the injury he inflicted upon them, it’s as simple as that,” Ms Johnston said.
“His victims deserve to be healed, they deserve to be able to get the support and the professional services they need to put their lives back together.”
Ms Johnston said victims of sexual abuse were left with “invisible” injuries.
“It exists, and it needs to be treated just as a physical injury would,” she said.