Lower barriers for victims of child sex abuse seeking compensation

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SIMON Corbell says barriers preventing survivors of institutionalised child sexual abuse from seeking compensation would be removed under new laws to be introduced today.

Simon said the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 2) would remove all time limits for starting civil proceedings to seek compensation and damages for institutional child sexual abuse.

“This would remove a significant barrier that may prevent survivors of sexual abuse inflicted in institutions or institutional settings from seeking redress in the courts,” Simon said.

“The current limitation period is six years from the date a young person turns 18 years of age, meaning that a survivor of sexual abuse must come forward with a claim within that short period, just as they are finding their feet as an adult.

“That is a clearly unrealistic expectation on the part of the law, especially in light of the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that it may take these survivors decades to come forward with their claims.”

“Once passed, the reforms would apply immediately, correlating with other recent amendments to implement a reportable conduct scheme that is subject to oversight by the ACT Ombudsman.

“Together, we are sending a strong signal that institutions will not be able to hide or cover up allegations or instances of child sexual abuse and should encourage survivors to come forward,” Mr Corbell said.

The Bill also makes amendments to increase the victim’s services levy to improve the capacity of the Territory to support victims of crime under the recently revamped and improved Victims of Crime Financial Assistance Scheme.

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