It is time to act now and remove the statute of limitations for all compensation claims relating to historical child abuse. This can, and should, be done as soon as the NSW Parliament returns. Victoria has already done it.
Anything less is failing victims and survivors of abuse. They have been through enough and deserve far better from their elected representatives.
It’s well past time for the law to put the interests of victims before the institutions that abused them.
The ABC reported
Repeal of statute of limitations should be prioritized: Greens
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said the Government should move immediately to follow Victoria’s lead and abolish limitation periods for child sex abuse victims.
“We need the State Government to act immediately and implement the clear recommendation from the royal commission,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“They need to legislate tomorrow to remove the statute of limitations for all historical sexual abuse claims, whether it’s against the State Government or against an NGO or any private individual.”
Dianne Wilson was 14 years old when she was taken to the Parramatta Girls Home.
She had run away from her family home after suffering years of sexual abuse by her grandfather, and was living on the streets.
During her nine months at Parramatta in 1966, Ms Wilson was viciously raped by a deputy superintendent at the Parramatta Girls Home, Gordon Gilford.
Ms Wilson recently received compensation from the NSW Government as part of a confidential settlement.
She said the resolution of her civil case was a great relief.
“I was given an apology and I never thought I’d live to see that happen,” she said.
Repayment demand ‘a slap in the face’
Mr Gilford, who is now dead, was named during the final report of the royal commission on the Parramatta Home as one of “the scariest and cruellest officers”.
“He was one of the people who was supposed to look after us,” Ms Wilson told the ABC this week.
“I had witnessed him bash other girls. He made no bones about doing it openly in front of everyone, staff members, everyone”
Ms Wilson was raped after an incident in which some rings of a shower curtain were broken.
“He threw me on the bed and raped me,” Ms Wilson said.
“When he’d finished, he told me to clean myself up and don’t tell anyone, and he could get me anytime he wanted to get me.”
But another battle looms for Ms Wilson, who in 2014 received a $10,000 through the Victims Support Scheme.
The Government is now demanding that Ms Wilson repay that money. She is one of three women in a similar position.
“I think it’s really petty and I think it’s really another slap in the face,” Ms Wilson said.
Ms Wilson’s lawyer, Peter Kelso, is gearing up to challenge the Government’s demand for repayment to several women who have reached legal settlements with the state.
Mr Kelso previously acted for abuse victims from the Bethcar Children’s Home at Brewarrina in far western NSW.
Some of those victims were awarded up to $50,000 in victims’ compensation and did not have to repay that money after reaching legal settlements with the State Government.