- Civil Liability Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse Actions) Bill 2017 (the Bill) introduced into State Parliament
- The Bill seeks to remove limitation periods for all child sexual abuse actions
- Fulfils commitment of the McGowan Labor Government
A Bill which will end limitation periods for civil action by victims of child sexual abuse has been introduced into State Parliament.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that the average time for a victim to disclose child sexual abuse was 22 years.
Under existing limitation periods, most victims are unable to sue for damages when they finally disclose their abuse.
The Bill seeks to remedy this by removing limitation periods for all child sexual abuse actions, both retrospectively and going forward.
The removal of limitation periods for civil actions by victims of child sexual abuse is a McGowan Labor Government election commitment.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"We are committed to ensuring survivors of child sex abuse are treated with dignity and respect.
"The sexual abuse of children is one of the worst crimes imaginable.
"The fact that these crimes may have happened many years ago should not be a barrier to being able to seek justice and compensation in our civil courts.
"The State Government has worked tirelessly on this important Bill since we were elected in March to ensure we get it right.
"I thank all sexual abuse victims for their patience and understanding as we worked hard to produce a Bill which will enable them to seek justice and obtain adequate compensation."
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"The removal of limitation periods for civil actions by victims of child sexual abuse is a McGowan Labor Government election commitment and addresses one of the civil litigation reforms recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in their Redress and Civil Litigation Report.
"This Bill goes further than any other Australian jurisdiction to date.
"In a first for Australia, the Bill provides a legal basis for suing institutions in the name of their current office holders for historical child sexual abuse.
"There are currently legal difficulties in suing an unincorporated institution. Many of the churches and other institutions involved are, or were at the time, not incorporated.
"Our Bill includes provisions to overcome the difficulties that a victim may face in identifying a proper defendant.
"It includes provisions overriding certain sections of the Federal corporations law, which will enable office holders to access the assets of related trusts and corporations for the purposes of satisfying the judgement amount.
"The Bill also ensures that victims are treated fairly by introducing a cap on the legal fees that may be charged to a plaintiff in child sexual abuse cases."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800