The Limitation Amendment (Child Abuse) Bill 2015 was second read in the Parliament’s Upper House today. The bill removes any limitation period for civil claims made by victims of child sexual abuse. It is modelled on the laws passed by the Victorian Parliament in July this year.
Child abuse victims would be able to seek damages regardless of when they were abused under new laws proposed on Thursday.
The NSW Greens introduced a bill to State Parliament to remove complex limitation times following recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday.
A report on redress and civil litigation recommended state and territory governments remove any limitation periods that applied to damage claims by a person who had been sexually abused.
Victoria removed the limitations under laws introduced in February this year.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This Parliament should promise justice for adult victims of child sexual abuse wherever it is within our power to deliver it.
“While the Royal Commission is ongoing, there are simple changes that can be made now that will immediately help victims of child sexual abuse.
“In a context where the average time for disclosure of child sexual abuse is some 23 years, the 3 year time limit for civil claims for compensation is another obstacle to justice.
“We cannot allow technicalities to stand between victims and access to justice.
“This bill protects victims’ civil claims for the very simple fact that compensation is an important part of the healing process for many victims and survivors of abuse.
“Victims in Victoria have already been relieved of this unfair restriction on claims by their Parliament and it is high time the NSW Parliament followed suit.
“Doing nothing in the face of injustice places those in power on the side of the abusers.
“With cross-party support this bill can become law the very next day Parliament meets.
“The Greens call on all parties in the NSW Parliament to support this change, and provide a real measure of justice for victims in NSW”, Mr Shoebridge said.