The Victorian Government says it is set to offer child abuse survivors the chance to access additional compensation. Source: The Age.
The changes will allow survivors to apply to the courts to overturn historical compensation payments by setting aside “deeds of release”.
It is unclear how many survivors might be cleared to sue their abusers under the reform but one compensation scheme, the Melbourne Archdiocese's “Melbourne Response” is thought to have signed up more than 500 victims to deeds of release.
The Andrews Government says it will amend the Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) to give discretion to a court to set aside a past deed of release or court judgement relating to child abuse.
On average, survivors of child sexual abuse take about 22 years to report the crimes committed against them, usually putting them outside the legal time limits, which have now been abolished, to sue their abusers, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found.
The government says that allowing the courts to set aside these deeds if it is “just and reasonable” ensures victim survivors are not left worse off.
Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the reforms will not be limited to sexual abuse, but will cover other forms of child abuse where a deed of release was signed.
“Survivors of institutional abuse have already had to endure years of suffering and we’re doing everything we can to support them and to make sure they have access to the compensation they deserve," Ms Hennessy said.