Western Australia – Limitation period to go for child abuse victims

Laws to remove limitation periods for victims of child sexual abuse to take civil action against perpetrators and institutions will be enacted by a re-elected Liberal National Government, Premier Colin Barnett said today.

Mr Barnett said the Government would also remove limitation periods for serious physical abuse, recognising that this was also traumatic and could have a lasting impact on a person’s wellbeing.

The removal of limitation periods would not be limited to child abuse which occurred in an institutional context.

“Survivors, regardless of where the abuse occurred will be able to commence civil action without the barrier of limitation periods,” Mr Barnett said.

The Government also recognised that some survivors may have accepted out of court settlements for abuse they suffered in circumstances where the limitation period for their claim had expired, leaving them with no ability to take action in the courts.

They may have felt obliged, by reason of their poor bargaining position, to take what was offered to them by way of settlement.

“Consequently, the amendments will allow victims who have received out of court settlements for child abuse to have these settlements set aside by the court,” the Deputy Premier said.

“There will be no cap placed on the maximum damages that can be awarded to survivors – the court will determine the damages payable to a person who suffered child abuse.

Attorney General Michael Mischin said the changes would not preclude victims who had previously received redress for sexual or serious physical abuse experienced as a child from commencing civil action.

Please contact us if you have been the subject of abuse so that we can explain the details of what action we can take on your behalf to obtain compensation for you.

Ross Koffel