Justice prevails for victims of abusive dentist

Justice prevails for victims of abusive dentist

Hartley Davey, now 90, was found to have exploited his position of trust after pleading guilty to five counts of indecent assault against three child patients. It was further heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court that he sexually abused one of his victims in a church and all three in his dental clinic. During the 1950's Davey was a dentist at a clinic in Prahran, and was considered a respected member of the church community. An enthusiastic photographer, his life after dentistry saw a move into the film industry. Davey was sentenced to 18 months' jail which was suspended subject to rigid conditions. He is now a registered sex offender. Former patients of Davey sought compensation for the trauma of the offending and gave evidence before Magistrate Duncan Reynolds. In a judgment handed down on Thursday, victims of Davey's abuse achieved recognition of their trauma and suffering in the form of substantial settlements of $100,000, $75,000 and $75,000 respectively. Acting for victims, Adviceline Injury Lawyers Partner, Bree Knoester, said that the successful claims for compensation were a way of acknowledging the terrible crimes that had been committed against them as young children and that the opportunity to give evidence was a chance for the victims to tell their story and be heard. Trauma in childhood can have significant effect on daily life and can persist into adulthood," Bree said. "Here young children were taken advantage of and as adults were brave enough to face the offender and demand justice and compensation. Recently there has been a lot of attention into sexual abuse and the harm caused to victims by perpetrators in positions of power - such as in the church, schools and the health profession, Bree added. Former neurologist, Dr Andrew Churchyard, was accused of sexually assaulting more than 100 patients. Following the lodging of Supreme Court claims on behalf of a number of former Churchyard patients, some of whom allege they were assaulted in the presence of a chaperone, an independent review into chaperoning restrictions in keeping patients safe was launched. In the case of Andrew Churchyard, and other abuse cases, victims believe that they are alone in what happened to them, Bree said. Having these stories in the public domain gives a voice to the voice-less, and provides an opportunity for others to come forward. Compensation won't change what happened, but can provide victims with the support and opportunity they need to get their lives back on track. --- Bree Knoester has acted for many victims of sexual abuse, including doctor/patient abuse and historical sex abuse cases. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, and would like legal advice, Bree can be contacted confidentially on her direct telephone number (03) 9321 9879.

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