knowmore’s Executive Officer Warren Strange and knowmore’s Director of Client Services Amanda Whelan were interviewed by Rebecca Levingston on 612 ABC Brisbane on the one-year anniversary of the National Apology to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. The interview discussed the anniversary of the apology, recent changes to the limitations of abuse claims in Queensland and how to support people who disclose abuse.
An excerpt from the interview is included below. This exert deals with the recent changes to the limitations of abuse claims in Queensland.
REBECCA LEVINGSTON: At a state government level the Attorney General, Yvette D’Ath, made an announcement this morning about people’s right to sue – what’s involved there?
WARREN STRANGE: Our Parliament today I understand will be examining some legislation which is going to make it easier for survivors to bring claims for damages against institutions. And that’s very important because redress, under the National Redress Scheme, is really an alternative to that and people might be able to obtain much more compensation by way of a damages claim if they’ve got evidence to support that. And our Parliament is looking at that legislation.
A couple of years ago Parliament removed the limitation period for these claims. Previously a claim had to brought within three years of somebody attaining the age of 18 which was just usually an insurmountable hurdle because we know, and the Royal Commission found, that it takes on average 22 years for a survivor to make a disclosure. So usually they’d lost their legal rights decades before they were ready to talk about what happened to them. Parliament removed that barrier but only for cases of sexual abuse and not for physical abuse. And we know that so many of our clients who grew up in institutions suffered horrendous physical and psychological abuse as well as sexual abuse.
So it’s very important that Queensland extended those rights across all areas of abuse and that’s happened in other states. And I understand the announcement this morning was that Queensland would now be doing that and that’s a very welcome development.
Audio of this interview can be found here (https://www.abc.net.au/radio/brisbane/programs/focus/mornings/11605754) and knowmore’s segment begins at 1 hour and 46 minutes.