• Catholic Clergy Claims
    Catholic Clergy Claims
    Dr Vivian Waller has acted in claims against Catholic Clergy since 1995.
  • State Ward Claims
    State Ward Claims
    Dr Viv Waller has acted for former wards of the state of Victoria since 1997 when she commenced group litigation on behalf of many former residents of the Ballarat Orphanage who were abused in care.
  • The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
    Established in January 2013, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse investigated how institutions like schools, churches and sporting groups responded to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Team

Dr Waller was instrumental in the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse where she represented 20 survivor witnesses in case studies inquiring into the Melbourne Response, Victorian State Wards, Yeshiva Bondi and Melbourne, Catholic Church Authorities in Ballarat and the Criminal Justice System.

Dr Vivian Waller

Principal Solicitor
Vivian Waller

 

Dr Vivian Waller is a solicitor and the principal of Waller Legal, a legal practice dedicated to looking after victims of crime and those who have endured sexual assault or child abuse.

She was admitted to legal practice in 1995 and has represented victim/survivors of sexual assault for nearly 20 years.

Viv graduated from law at Monash University where she later taught law and lectured in politics before being admitted to practice in 1995. Viv has completed a doctorate at the University of Melbourne in civil claims for compensation for childhood sexual assault and in particular the unique psychological effects of childhood sexual assault and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her thesis was a comprehensive analysis of limitation periods (time limits) in sexual assault litigation.

Viv completed her articles at Slater & Gordon in 1994 and worked at that firm for four years. Whilst in that role she worked on the early sexual abuse cases against Catholic Clergy including cases against St John Of God and the Christian Brothers. In addition to this she worked on personal injury, medical negligence and public liability matters. Upon moving to the class action department she worked on international class action litigation including breast implant litigation proceedings issued Melbourne, Sydney and Texas and the Dow Corning Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

She was formerly a Senior Associate at Maurice Blackburn where she worked for 10 years. In 1997 she commenced work for former wards of the state and has acted for many state wards assisting them to seek justice and compensation. She commenced this career long project with a group of cases in relation to mistreatment at the old Ballarat Orphanage. She has acted for state wards harmed in children's homes across Victoria and this remains an important part of her current practice. While at Maurice Blackburn she set up the Sexual Assault Unit, Australia's first legal practice dedicated solely to the provision of legal services to those who have been sexual assaulted. She continues do to this work in her own firm.

In 2005 the Victorian Women Lawyers bestowed upon her an Achievement Award for her services to victims of sexual assault. Viv acted for Carol Stingel in her successful High Court Appeal against Geoff Clark.

Establishing her own legal firm in February 2007, Viv continues her work for those who have been the victim of a crime or endured sexual assault or abuse. Waller Legal represents hundreds of clients each year, helping them to access justice, financial assistance and compensation.

In the pursuit of justice for sexual assault victims Viv has taken action against individual offenders, footballers, doctors, hospitals, teachers, social workers, psychiatrists, priests, religious orders, Christian Brothers, Salesian Brothers, Franciscan Friars, children's homes and orphanages, government departments, childcare centres and schools. Sadly, Catholic Clergy are vastly over represented as Defendants in her practice.

Viv is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria and Victorian Women Lawyers.

In The News
Testimonials
  • Thank you so much for all of your hard work this year getting my VOCAT application together, and for the fantastic outcome. While I am still dealing with the emotional ramifications of what happened to me, I now feel like I have the means to continue rebuilding myself and my life. Thank you.

    CC
  • Thank you so much from me personally.  This decision has actually turned my life back around.  I didn’t realise how much my heart was hurting from anger and disbelief in the system.

    My heart is lighter and more at peace thanks to you all.  As a family we are unable to find suitable words on how much your efforts, consideration and concern means to us.  At last someone fought and believed in us.  Truly you have given us all so much peace.

    WK
  • Viv Waller spent many hours over months gathering, sorting and preparing our evidence and my statement - a statement which was webcast around Australia and the world. 

    Viv Waller has spent her professional career solely helping and assisting people who were sexually assaulted as children by those in religious organisations.  In so many cases she had taken the power from the perpetrator and given it back to the survivor.

    Viv Waller’s work is essential.  Her guidance, abilities and professionalism lead me through a most overwhelming and daunting task which I can only thank her for.

    Chrissie Foster
  • Dear Vivian,

    I wish to thank you for everything you have done to enable me to feel some justice has been achieved with the hope that the Catholic Church recognises it’s failings and addresses them.  In doing so, the Catholic Church can continue in the future, without public cynicism and to keep alive the central message of all religion, “to love thy neighbour as you would love yourself”.

    Essentially, this is asking us to step into another’s shoes before we judge them.  I feel that you did this for me during my conversations with me, and this made it easier for me to go through the whole process.  I also won’t forget the thoroughness and delightful manner of your staff.

    JA
  • Everything is different now.  My journey is over now.

    KF
  • Many thanks to you and your team for the positive outcome regarding the Anglican Church of Melbourne.

    Although nothing will erase the memories and feelings I still harbour, I at least now feel somewhat satisfied that I have had a win in all of this.

    Mark White
  • I have thought of you often and the journey and the process of the last couple of years.  As a survivor you can think that every end step will be closure—arrest, guilt, sentencing, criminal case finished, civil case complete.  But there is never really an end.  Each part of the process is just a step closer to healing and closure.  You and your staff did a fab job of walking me through the civil case.

    For six months the money has sat idle in an account I can’t touch.  It feels as though if I touch it I am accepting it as silence money and once again feeling gagged.  But I am getting there.  It will be used towards a fresh start.  Hope for a more whole and healed future.  Thank you for being part of the process.

    Thank you for your professionalism, support, and persistence.

    KD
  • It is with both great relief and admiration that I write this letter to you. A consummate professional and an amazingly beautiful human being you are. Thank you for doing such an exemplary job in resolving these issues for me, and supporting me with both compassion and instruction as my representative throughout this ordeal. I am painfully aware that no amount of retribution / compensation can replace what was taken, but I am hoping it can propel myself forward to achieve some sort of normality in my life. With respect and gratitude.

    JZ
  • I would like to thank you for acting on behalf in regards to the Christian Brothers.  Your logo “in pursuit of justice” says it all.  I didn’t know what to expect and very nearly withdrew from the whole process, but I am happy I didn’t.

    The most rewarding aspect for me was the sensitivity and warmth shown by you in relation to a very complex and emotional matter.  Also the knowledge that there are people willing to stand up on behalf of people like me has a healing effect.  I would also like to thank your staff for their warm and professional matter in this whole process.  You said to me during the phone appointment that you counted it a privilege to act for people like me.  Well Dr Waller, the privilege was all mine.  I wish you all the best in the future.

    JC
  • Thank you for what you did, what you said and who you are, your thoughtfulness will always be remembered with more gratitude that you could ever know.

    Cheryl
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