Legislation reform tabled for Child Sexual Assault Survivors

The Australian Capital Territory (“ACT”) is leading the way with reforms to make bringing a claim against abusers for child sexual assault easier.

The ACT along with New South Wales and Victoria have followed The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations and removed statutory limitation periods, as these were seen as a significant, barriers to survivors of child sexual assault pursuing civil litigation.

The ACT however,  have decided to go further, and broaden the scope of the laws in making it easier for survivors to bring an action by changing the definition of a child abuse claim.

The proposed amendments in the ACT alter the definition of a child abuse claim, and remove the requirement for the abuse to occur in an institutional setting.

The Bill also recognises that barriers still exist, regardless of the context, in which the child sexual abuse took place. The Bill will allow more survivors to seek redress and justice through civil proceedings.

The ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay stated that “These amendments build on reforms introduced last year to remove limitation periods for child sex abuse claims in institutional contexts,” and “These changes recognise the length of time that it can take for survivors of child sex abuse to disclose abuse, and remove barriers to justice for these people, no matter the context of the abuse.”

These possible amendments are in any event an encouraging reminder to highlight how attitudes have changed and are continuing to change to assist survivors of abuse in obtaining rightful redress, and they are a further step in the right direction for victims seeking justice and compensation.

Koffels are experienced in claims of this nature and we can provide advice and help to victims.   We advise that if you have experienced Childhood Sexual Assault please do not hesitate to contact our office for a confidential discussion.