SURVIVORS of child sexual abuse will have better access to justice under legislation introduced to Queensland Parliament today.
The Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 will provide fair access and outcomes to child sexual abuse survivors who wish to pursue a claim for civil damages for personal injury.
It comes off the back of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s recommendations regarding civil litigation.
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Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said it was important that survivors were not forced to relive the nightmare as they seek the damages they rightfully deserve.
“The trauma that child sexual abuse survivors have suffered in their lives, and often continue to suffer, is unimaginable to many,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“These amendments to the Civil Liability Act are important steps forward in pursuing access to justice for those who have suffered child sexual abuse in institutions in Queensland.”
Mrs D’Ath said the Bill imposes a duty on institutions to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual abuse of a child by a person associated with the institution while the child is under the institution’s care, supervision, control or authority.
“The institution will be taken to have breached its duty unless it can prove it took all reasonable steps to prevent the abuse, reversing the usual onus of proof,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“This is intended to address the power imbalance between the victim and the institution.
“To overcome the difficulties that a victim may face in identifying a proper defendant to sue, the Bill provides a statutory framework for the identification of a proper defendant that can meet any financial liabilities incurred by the institution.
“Where institutions fail to nominate a proper defendant, the court can order that the claim proceed against the trustees.
“The Palaszczuk Government has undertaken significant consultation with government, legal, church, educational, victims’ representatives and community organisations in drafting this legislation.
“I would like to thank all individuals and stakeholders who have contributed to the consideration of these issues.”