Update – Limitation Period lifted for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse in Queensland

By Sarah Carlisle

On Friday 11 November 2016, the Limitation of Actions (Child Sexual Abuse) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 was introduced.

What Does This Mean for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse in Queensland?

 The legislation has the effect of lifting the limitation period which previously applied to a claim for damages for the physical and psychological injuries suffered by victims of child sexual abuse in Queensland.

Whereas these claims were previously statute barred beyond the child victim’s 21stbirthday – there will no longer be a statutory time limit for child sexual abuse victims to pursue compensation for the horrific abuse which they suffered as children.

These claims can now be brought at any time in the victim’s life and, in the case of victims who have died, some actions may survive for the benefit of their family members.

The change acknowledges the life-long pain and suffering endured by child sexual abuse victims and the difficulties which they have previously faced accessing just compensation due to their unique vulnerabilities.

Who Will Benefit from this Change?

All victims of child sexual abuse will be entitled to reconsider their entitlements in light of these changes to the legislation.

Those who have not brought a claim previously will no longer face a defence on the basis that the action is out of time.

Those who have already attempted to pursue their entitlements and whose claims have previously been dismissed or otherwise determined by the court on the basis that they were outside of the statutory time limit will get a second chance.

Pursuant to the new legislation, those victims are entitled to request that the Supreme Court set aside the previous determination of their claim and commence a fresh claim which will not be marred by interrogations about the victim’s delay in bringing the claim.

If you or someone you know is a victim of child sexual abuse, even if you have previously been advised that you do not have any entitlement to compensation, we recommend contacting a lawyer to discuss your entitlements in light of the amended legislation.