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​Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse

Issued: Tuesday, 16 February 2016 

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The NSW Government will introduce legislation today to make it easier for survivors of child abuse to access civil justice, Attorney General Gabrielle Upton announced.

The legislation is one part of the NSW Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations on redress and civil litigation.

The change will remove the limitation period in civil claims to let survivors of child abuse claim for damages, regardless of the date of the alleged abuse.

“There should be no use-by date for justice for survivors of child abuse,” Ms Upton said. “This change will remove a significant barrier in the way of that justice.”

The NSW Government is strongly committed to reform in this area, and has already adopted the Guiding Principles to guide NSW Government agencies on how best to respond to civil claims for child sexual abuse, including by not raising limitation period defences in most cases.

“We know there is more to do, and the NSW Government will release a consultation paper in the coming months in relation to the Royal Commission’s other civil litigation recommendations,” Ms Upton said.

Last year the NSW Government, together with the Victorian Government, called on the Commonwealth Government to give effect to the Royal Commission’s keystone recommendation by establishing a single, national redress scheme for survivors.

The NSW Government believes a single national scheme is the best way to ensure consistent, accessible justice for survivors regardless of where the abuse occurred.

Discussions will continue through the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council with the Commonwealth and other States and Territories on the approach to a redress scheme, so it is ready to accept applications from survivors by no later than 1 July 2017, as recommended by the Royal Commission.