The ACT Legislative Assembly has passed laws scrapping the time limit on historical institutional child abuse claims.

The limitation period was removed in recognition of the trauma and hesitation many victims experience as a result of abuse. The move means the Territory has joined NSW and Victoria in removing that time barrier.

At the moment, the time to claim is limited by law.  A person abused as a child has only three years after turning 18 to start court proceedings, if the abuse was suffered after 9 September 2003.  If the abuse occurred before then, victims have 6 years after turning 18.

This was a real problem as many victims are often hesitant to take action for many years, if at all.  The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse last year recommended such time limits be scrapped, and has now brought so many cases to the fore that victims may feel more confident in making a complaint and seeking compensation. It would be a shame if it was too late.

What we wonder is, why doesn’t the legislation extend to those who were over the age of 18 when they suffered institutional abuse such as persons with intellectual disabilities? Those people may still be able to make a claim as the limitation period is suspended while persons are ‘under a disability’.

Blumers Lawyers are happy to talk to anyone concerned as to their rights and the ability to obtain compensation and what time limits may apply.