The first test of the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be if he puts politics aside to work with Premier Baird and state and territory parliaments to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission’s final report into Redress and Civil Litigation about child sexual abuse in institutions.
The Greens NSW currently have legislation before the NSW Parliament to implement two key recommendations that remove the statute of limitations for historical child sexual abuse claims and remove technical defences such as the Ellis defence. With leadership these changes could be law by Thursday.
Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This is one of the first tests of any new Prime Minister, will Turnbull put aside Abbott’s legacy of defending institutions and instead put the needs of victims and survivors first?
“The Greens NSW currently have bills in the Parliament ready to go to make the exact changes the Royal Commission recommends. This includes removing limitations defenses for institutions and abolishing the Ellis defense.
“We are calling on Baird and Turnbull to work across the political divide to implement these changes, and making a real difference.
“These findings from the Royal Commission are comprehensive and unambiguous, it is not acceptable to make victims of abuse wait any longer for these simple, practical changes to the law here in NSW.
“The State and Federal Governments must work to implement the full suite of recommendations but these two changes can and should be made this week.
“It is time to put in place a redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse in institutions that is timely, responsive and fair.
“A large proportion of abuse survivors and victims are in NSW. For this reason alone the Baird Government must urgently work with the Federal Government to implement a workable Federal scheme for redress.
“The Royal Commission has understood the importance of redress for many survivors of abuse, and its recommendations reflect this. It’s time every politician listened,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Key state recommendations:
- State and territory governments should introduce legislation to remove any limitation period that applies to a claim for damages brought by a person where that claim is founded on the personal injury of the person resulting from sexual abuse of the person in an institutional context when the person is or was a child.
- State and territory governments should ensure that the limitation period is removed with retrospective effect and regardless of whether or not a claim was subject to a limitation period in the past.
- State and territory governments should introduce legislation to provide that, where a survivor wishes to commence proceedings for damages in respect of institutional child sexual abuse where the institution is alleged to be an institution with which a property trust is associated, then unless the institution nominates a proper defendant to sue that has sufficient assets to meet any liability arising from the proceedings:
- the property trust is a proper defendant to the litigation
- any liability of the institution with which the property trust is associated that arises from the proceedings can be met from the assets of the trust.
The full report is available here: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/policy-and-research/redress
You can also see the Greens NSW 3 point reform package for victims of child sexual abuse here: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/3-point-reform-package-for-victims-of-child-sexual-abuse/
Support for victims and survivors
Bravehearts 1800 272 831 (8am-8pm, Monday to Friday)
Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN) (02) 8355 3711
Adults Surviving Child Abuse Helpline 1300 657 38 (9am-5pm Monday to Sunday)
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 (24 hours)