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Limitation of Actions (Child Sexual Abuse) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (12:51): I am very happy to rise in support of this bill. This bill is very similar to one that I introduced last year, which removed the statute of limitations for those who had suffered child sexual abuse. At the time, the opposition (now the Liberal government) had introduced a similar bill that removed the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse perpetrated by state-owned institutions. My 2017 bill was broader than that which was introduced by the honourable member for Bragg and now Attorney-General and allowed for all victims of child sex abuse to make a claim at any time.

I am very glad to see that the government's bill now has the expanded definition, which will see the statute of limitations removed for all victims of child sex abuse rather than just those who have suffered at the hands of a state–owned institution. This was a recommendation of the federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

As I said in my second reading, removing the statute of limitations is extremely important because it is often not until a person is an adult that they are fully able to comprehend the magnitude of what has occurred to them. When people prey on children, they manipulate them to believe that what they are doing is not that bad and victims often minimise their own experiences. It often takes decades for a person to be able to psychologically deal with the trauma, let alone the added ordeal of going through court to take action.

By removing the statute of limitations, it removes one barrier that a victim of child sex abuse faces, in that they will no longer have to seek approval from the courts to grant an extension. This is a move that has already been done interstate, in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and I wholeheartedly commend the government for doing the same in South Australia.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.T. Ngo.