NSW rethinks time limit for child abuse victims to sue

Published: 27 Sep 2016

You are invited to have your say on plans to remove or reduce the legal time limit in which survivors of child sexual abuse can sue for damages.


The NSW Government has released a discussion paper debating potential whether the Limitation Act 1969 should be amended. The paper was written in response to recent inquiries into child abuse in religious, non-government and government organisations.

Widespread claims about child abuse

NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse uncovered widespread claims about abuse and the legal barriers that survivors face in pursuing justice after the event.

“Civil litigation offers people an opportunity to sue perpetrators and responsible institutions for damages suffered as a result of their abuse”, Mr Hazzard said.

“However, it is well documented that many survivors of child sexual abuse do not disclose their experiences or act on them until decades after the abuse, well after the time period has ended.”

Have Your Say

Mr Hazzard said the NSW Government wants to hear from the community before making a final decision on whether to amend the Limitations Act. He also said that any changes to the limitation period will only affect the length of time that a survivor has to start civil proceedings. It will not affect the liability of institutions.

“It is important we consult broadly to ensure we are making the right decisions ‑ implementing legislation that helps survivors recover from their traumatic experiences and assisting the justice system to deliver justice.”

To take part in the public consultation go to the NSW Government Have Your Say website and provide feedback before 10 March 2015.

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