Civil Liability for Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Residential Schools: The Baker Did it

2006-08 Canadian Journal of Law and Society Article Prize

Bruce Feldthusen, “Civil Liability for Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Residential Schools: The Baker Did It” (2007), 22 CJLS 61

40 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014  

Bruce Feldthusen

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

This article relies on reported judicial decisions to examine how individual plaintiffs have fared in tort actions arising from alleged sexual abuse perpetrated in residential schools. It concentrates on three distinct issues: credibility, damage assessment, and vicarious liability. It concludes that tort law has failed the residential school plaintiffs. Their stories are seldom believed in contested litigation. The law fails to take into account the totality of the residential school experience in assessing damages. Indeed, damages are reduced to reflect uncompensated harm from residential schooling. The government is not held vicariously liable for all abuse perpetrated within the residential schools. These problems are similar to those experienced by other plaintiffs seeking redress for sexual abuse. However, residential school survivors have faced additional challenges in tort litigation for sexual abuse, over and beyond the formidable challenges faced by others. We could have and should have done better.

Keywords: judicial, decisions. tort, plaintiff, sexual abuse, residential schools, credibility, damage, vicarious liability, harm, uncompensated, government, abuse

Suggested Citation

Feldthusen, Bruce, Civil Liability for Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Residential Schools: The Baker Did it (2007). 2006-08 Canadian Journal of Law and Society Article Prize; Bruce Feldthusen, “Civil Liability for Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Residential Schools: The Baker Did It” (2007), 22 CJLS 61. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2431786

Bruce Feldthusen (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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