Lawyers for abuse survivors have today welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that it will extend the definition of abuse to include serious physical and psychological abuse, set aside the statute of limitations for these survivors to pursue civil claims, and reverse the onus of proof on institutions in these matters.
Maurice Blackburn National Head of Abuse Law Michelle James said the changes would significantly improve access to justice for abuse survivors in Queensland.
“The Queensland Government’s extension of the definition of abuse to include serious physical and psychological abuse opens the possibility of making claims for many more survivors, who will be able to claim for civil damages and personal injury,” Ms James said.
Ms James said the removal of the statute of limitations in serious physical and psychological abuse matters is also extremely important.
“As the Royal Commission showed us, the effects of abuse suffered as a child are significant and lifelong,” Ms James said.
“It is inherently unjust to have any kind of time limit on when a child victim can take legal action, as the survivors of abuse often take many years to even speak about what happened to them, let alone ask for any kind of help or redress
“These welcome reforms reflect the need to afford survivors the time to pursue their legal options if they wish to.
“In addition, the reversal of the onus of proof for the survivors of physical and psychological abuse will help to prevent institutions where abuse has occurred from avoiding their legal responsibilities.
“The Queensland Government are to be commended for these reforms, which will enable many more survivors to access their full legal rights to compensation in the civil courts,” she said
Jacob O’Shaughnessy, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers: