Contact the Division on: (03) 6224 1015

Improving access to justice for child abuse survivors

Elise Archer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice,

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is committed to implementing a number of recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Today we are taking the next step, with the tabling of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Organisational Liability for Child Abuse) Bill 2019.

Tasmanians have been appalled by the prevalence of child sexual abuse that emerged through the Royal Commission and the challenges survivors have experienced trying to bring those responsible for their abuse to justice. This Bill makes it clear that all organisations and all individuals connected to those organisations must do everything in their power to protect children and prevent child abuse from occurring, and contains a number of further important nation leading reforms that will enable and enhance access to justice for survivors of child abuse.

The reforms to the Civil Liability Act 2002 impose a new statutory duty of care upon all organisations who exercise care, supervision or authority over children. The Bill also extends vicarious liability to organisations for the perpetration of child abuse by individuals that are ‘akin to employees’ in their organisations, as well as regular employees.

Complementing the work of the Royal Commission this Bill also makes amendments to the Limitation Act 1974 that will allow courts to set aside a previous settlement between an organisation and survivor if ‘it is in the interests of justice to do so,’ enabling a survivor to commence civil litigation where the court considers that previous settlements have been unfair or inappropriate.

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is committed to providing survivors with improved avenues for seeking justice, which in turn helps create institutional environments that protect our vulnerable children.