Laws aimed at helping South Australians who were sexually or physically abused as children access compensation have passed State Parliament.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said legislation governing the implementation of the National Redress Scheme in South Australia and legislation that would ensure people who suffered sexual or serious physical abuse as a child could lodge a compensation claim regardless of when the abuse occurred have now been endorsed by State Parliament.
“Yesterday we saw two important pieces of legislation around compensating survivors of child sexual abuse pass our Parliament,” said Ms Chapman.
“This Government has prioritised recognising the lasting physical and psychological impact that sexual or serious physical abuse can have on a child, and are ensuring they still have an avenue available to them to pursue compensation through the Limitation of Actions (Child Abuse) Amendment Bill 2018.”
“I’m pleased this Parliament has recognised the need to remove the barriers faced by abuse victims when seeking compensation – both for child sexual abuse and serious physical harm, often two harms which do not occur in isolation of each other.”
“Under the current laws, those who have been abused as a child are unable to seek civil compensation beyond the age of 21, severely limiting those who can apply given the time it often takes for victims to be ready to make a claim following historical abuse.
“This Bill has been a Liberal Party policy since 2016, and with the removal of limitation periods for child sexual abuse being a key recommendation of Nyland. Sadly the former Government refused to pass such reform previously.
The Attorney-General also said laws governing the National Redress Scheme are SA’s next step in ensuring the full scheme can be fully commenced early next year.
“This Bill is the next step in SA fully commencing the Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse and is the legislative instrument accompanying the $146 million this Government has set aside for these survivors.
“While work continues to allow the scheme to be implemented in South Australia, the current Mullighan ex gratia payment scheme will continue to operate.
“Once the legislation comes into effect, South Australian institutions can apply to become a ‘participating institution’ and opt into the scheme.
“We’ve already seen a number of major non-government institutions flag their intent to take part in the scheme, and I would encourage any that haven’t to begin preparation for the implementation of this scheme in South Australia.”
More information on the National Redress Scheme can be found at: https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/ and https://www.agd.sa.gov.au/projects-and-consultations/national-redress-scheme