Queensland to remove legal limits on child sex abuse civil action
Queensland victims of institutional sex abuse will be free to take civil action regardless of how much time has passed or whether they have already received a payment from an earlier redress scheme.
The State Government will introduce legislation this month to lift the current three-year statute of limitations, a move that is also Opposition policy.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government was taking the action in response to the stories of victims heard by the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
"There is no time limit for the anguish or damage to their lives," she said.
"With this legislation there will be no time limit for their access to justice.
"The statute of limitations has effectively barred these victims from seeking justice, barred them from making claims for damages."
Similar change already in place in NSW, Victoria
In May, there were calls to remove the limits from about 100 campaigners who held a forum on the top in Queensland's parliamentary annexe.
The call was supported by child advocacy group Bravehearts and the Australian Centre for Health Law Research.
Hetty Johnston from Bravehearts said at that time New South Wales and Victoria had already removed legal time limits.
In 2007, a $100 million redress scheme was set up after the Forde Inquiry into abuse at Queensland institutions.
More than 7,450 Queenslanders have received payments from the scheme.
Just over a third of those people were victims of sexual abuse.
These and other people would be free to launch civil action once the legal limits are removed in Queensland.
Government 'following LNP's lead'
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said it was difficult to calculate the potential cost to taxpayers.
"Of course there are a lot of people out there who do not want to go through the court process, and that is why it is important that we're not just standing here today talking about civil litigation," Ms D'Ath said.
"We're [also] talking about [establishing] a national redress scheme."
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said he would support the legislation but the Government was following the LNP's lead.
"This is an important area that I personally have felt the need the reform on, and that's why two weeks ago we announced our policy that we would lift the three-year limitation on survivors of child sex abuse being able to bring claims," Mr Nicholls said.
Source: ABC News