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Redress Packages for Institutional Child Abuse: Exploring the Grandview Agreement as a Case Study in 'Alternative' Dispute Resolution

43 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2007  

Reg Graycar

The University of Sydney Law School

Jane M. Wangmann

University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law


Over the last decade there have been numerous revelations about the harms suffered by children in a range of institutions in Australia. In 1997 the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission reported on the experiences of the Aboriginal Stolen Generations in Bringing them Home, and a number of other state and federal inquiries have also documented an extensive history of institutional abuses of children in Australia. Most of the inquiries recommended that the relevant victims/survivors should be compensated and/or provided with some form of reparation, yet, with limited exceptions, the governments involved have refused to implement, or even entertain, any form of redress package.

In stark contrast, in Canada where there has been a range of similar inquiries into institutional abuse of children, there has been considerable progress in providing redress in the form of specifically designed reparations or compensation packages. The redress schemes developed in Canada vary considerably. Some resemble 'out-of-court settlements', while others appear to provide genuinely alternative forms of dispute resolution. If we understand the notion of redress or reparations as being about more than simply settling claims by means of financial compensation; if redress is seen as an attempt to address the multiple needs of victim/survivors of abuse, then we need to identify those characteristics that distinguish successful redress mechanisms from the more traditional tort system.

In this paper, we focus in depth on the 'Grandview Agreement' concluded between the government of Ontario and the Grandview Survivors' Support Group in 1994. This agreement gave rise to a process widely seen as one that developed, and put in place, an alternative process for addressing the harms perpetrated on the women and girls held in the Grandview Training School for Girls. We use the Grandview Agreement and the process of adjudication developed for it as a case study by which to examine the possibilities for creative redress packages that move beyond the common law tort system's emphasis on traditional concerns such as burden of proof, responsibility, causation, validation and witness credibility and instead focus on healing and reparation.

Keywords: Gender, injury, gendered harm, institutional abuse, historical harms, systemic injuries, tort, alternative dispute resolution, sexual abuse, intentional tort, redress, reparations, compensation, therapeutic jurisprudence

JEL Classification: K10, K13, K42

Suggested Citation

Graycar, Reg and Wangmann, Jane M., Redress Packages for Institutional Child Abuse: Exploring the Grandview Agreement as a Case Study in 'Alternative' Dispute Resolution. Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/50. Available at SSRN:

Reg Graycar (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

Jane Wangmann

University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law ( email )


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