Important changes to the Limitation Act 1969 commenced on 17 March 2016 with the assent of the Limitations Amendment (Child Abuse) Act 2016. The NSW Department of Justice has acknowledged the contribution of the Bar Association, as one of the 48 stakeholders who provided submissions to the discussion paper released in January 2015. The wide range of contributors included survivors, advocacy groups, academics, religious organisations, Indigenous advocacy groups, legal profession peak bodies, insurance industry representatives, legal advocates, child protection and disability service providers and the judiciary.
The amendments to the Limitation Act 1969 remove the limitation periods from an action for damages that relates to death or personal injury resulting from 'child abuse'. The changes to the law are retrospective.
Claims for compensation can be made by any person who suffered sexual abuse or serious physical abuse under the age of 18 years - regardless of where the abuse occurred and who is responsible for the abuse. If a person has suffered sexual or serious physical abuse (the threshold), no limitation period applies. A court considering any such claim can also consider any other abuse that is connected to the threshold abuse - minor physical or psychological abuse, for example.
More information including a Fact Sheet and Infographic is available at the NSW Department of Justice website. Where applicable, stakeholders are welcome to republish and forward to your members and/or clients.
The Fact Sheet contains contact details for a range of services including free legal advice and victims counselling through the Victims Support Scheme.
A full copy of the amended Act can be downloaded from the NSW Legislation website.