State of Victoria Australia: ABOLISH the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
  • Petitioned Parliament of the State of Victoria Australia

This petition was delivered to:

Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly
Parliament of the State of Victoria Australia

State of Victoria Australia: ABOLISH the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

    1. Helen Dawson
    2. Petition by

      Helen Dawson

      Karingal, Australia

It should always be JUST and REASONABLE and ALLOWABLE to pursue damages for Claims against perpetrators of Child Torture, Rape, Slave Labour and False Imprisonment.
In Victoria only 6.5% of cases of Child Sexual Assault brought to the Victorian Police result in a Conviction, as identified by Judy Courtin, at the Victorian Inquiry Into Church and Institutional Abuse.
The Victorian Police testified that on average it takes a Survivor 24.5 years on average before they instigate Civil proceedings in regards to their abuse as a child.

The Courts in Victoria have recognised the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on Survivors of Childhood abuse since the 1980's.  It is time that the Victorian Legislation reflected the fact that Survivors are unlikely to proceed with actions in the Courts in the time constraints designated by the current legislation.

In Victoria at present it is a period of 12 years from the date of the act or omission which caused death or injury, within which civil court proceedings for damages must be issued.
Currently, The Statute of Limitations Act (1958) allows persons to apply for leave to extend a limitation period to allow the issuing of court proceedings if it is "just and reasonable".

The Australian Senate Reports 2004 and 2009, and Victorian Inquiry into Church and Institutional Abuse has evidence before it that Children who absconded from Institutions were invariably sent back, their complaints of abuse disbelieved, their bodies beated by the Police and Welfare authorities for daring to suggest that 'Good People' had done bad things to them. They were then brutally treated by the Perpetrators for absconding, and even more so if they had disclosed crimes against them to the Police.  Many were incarcerated as juveniles in the prison system, and have never expected that they would ever have a chance to get a fair hearing in the Courts.

There is therefore a backlog of complaints from Survivors who have literally been in fear of their lives during their childhood about not mentioning the crimes against them to anyone. They need the validation now of not only being heard, but also knowing that the words of apology will be more than token, with the possibility of pursuing claims against the individual perpetrators and organisations that covered up systemic abuse across Australia.

Redress for survivors has been promised by politicians of all parties, repeatedly since 2004 in the Victorian Parliament, but has so far failed to materialise. 
The survivor numbers are very few, less than 10% of the original populations of the Victorian Institutions are identified by service providers as being alive now.


We would argue that it is ALWAYS just and reasonable to allow a Survivor of Torture, False Imprisonment, Slave Labour or Child Sexual Abuse, to bring a claim against Perpetrators and the controlling bodies, be they relatives, close associates, employers, organisations or religious organisations to the Courts for the matter to be heard.

We would argue that it is ALWAYS just and reasonable to allow a Survivor of Torture, False Imprisonment, Child Slave Labour or Child Sexual Abuse, to bring a Claim for Compensation against Individuals, Businesses, Organisations, Religious Bodies and Institutions, Government Departments that have Covered Up a crime and prevented the matter from being dealt with by the Victorian Police.

We would argue that the necessity to facilitate the presentation of claims to the Courts for people with disabilities who have been institutionalised and have therefore been unable to gain access to the courts previously be a matter that should require the compassionate understanding of the Legislative Assembly. 

The evidence from Broken Rites in regards to the disabled children abused by the St John of God Religious Order, presented to the Victorian Government Inquiry into Church and Institutional Abuse, is horrific and is
something that no just person would ever want to happen to vulnerable children or adults in our society again. 

Therefore, as a matter of prevention, of creating certainty, that all CRIMES committed on Children by their Guardians will be dealt with by the Police, and by the Courts, we would like the Act to remove the Limitation Period of people with a Disability, Minors and People with legal incapacity.

The Statute of Limitations clause below is a very effective barrier to access Justice for Survivors, that should be removed.


Currently, The Statute of Limitations Act (1958) allows persons to apply for leave to extend a limitation period to allow the issuing of court proceedings if it is "just and reasonable".


Therefore, we ask the Victorian Parliament to Remove from the

Victorian Limitation of Actions Act 1958
(amended to 1 July 2012)

Sections 27E 27I and 27J

27E  persons with a disability

27I  Special limitation period for minors injured by close relatives or close associates

27J  Effect of legal incapacity on limitation period.


The Act and amendments allows 12 years in personal injury cases, from the date of the act or omission which caused death or injury, within which court proceedings for damages must be issued.

The Limitations Act allows persons to apply for leave to extend a limitation period to allow the issue of court proceedings if it is 'just and reasonable' to do so.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Vic Gov Inquiry Recommends Abolition of the Statute of Limitations

      Helen Dawson
      Petition Organizer

      Victorian Politicians have agreed to bipartisan support for the Recommendations. Hoping there won't be any dirty deals behind the scenes to backslide from the Recommendations.
      Recommendation 26.3
      That the Victorian Government consider amending the Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) to exclude criminal child abuse from the operation of the limitations period under that Act.
      The Report is
      Betrayal of Trust Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-government Organisations
      Family and Community Development Committee November 2013

      The Report can be downloaded in full in 2 volumes here:
      https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/family-and-community-development-committee/Inquiry+into+Handling+of+Abuse_Volume+1_FINAL_web.pdf
      https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/family-and-community-development-committee/Inquiry+into+Handling+of+Abuse_Volume+2_FINAL_web.pdf

    2. Reached 200 signatures
    3. Success!!! Our Petition is going to the Vic Parliament next week

      Helen Dawson
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you to everyone who signed this petition, added their comments and passed it on to their friends. There were another 1100 signatures handwritten that we collected to fulfil the requirements for submission to the Victorian Parliament.
      This means that there will no longer be any disincentive for lawyers to support people with disabilities, under Guardianship, or Adult Survivors of Abuse and other serious crimes, such as torture, false Imprisonment, and Child Slave Labour from presenting their cases for Settlement and from proceeding to Court against perpetrators.
      The Victorian Inquiry Into Church and Institutional Abuse had many submissions supporting this action. Thank you so much for your support.
      Cheers Helen

    4. Reached 100 signatures
    5. Local MP Gets THIS PETITION and Balance of Power in Victoria

      Helen Dawson
      Petition Organizer

      Our local MP Geoff Shaw, has quit the Liberal Party and now holds the balance of power in the Victorian government for the next 2 years.... maybe. Debbie Wooby and I were first on his doorstep on the day of the announcement with THIS PETITION, and another 100 paper based signatures from locals. We will be aiming to have this Petition presented in the Victorian Parliament in the next 2 weeks. And of course we were in the local Leader Newspaper...
      http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/bayside/frankstons-mixed-reactions-to-geoff-shaws-liberal-party-exit/story-fngnvli9-1226592306849

    6. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • christopher currie AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      child abuse only Know Now l am 41

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Terence Moodie MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
      • 3 months ago

      Suffered serious sexual abuse at the hands of a doctor in 1955 when I was 14 years old.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • barb struthers BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
      • 3 months ago

      I deal with people who have been damaged by these experiences. The consequences of our social and legal hypocrisy. Really needs to change.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • geoff schofield AUSTRALIA
      • 4 months ago

      because I think that such crimes DO NOT FADE AWAY

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Emma O'Loughlin PORT PIRIE, SA, AUSTRALIA
      • 5 months ago

      Child Abuse affects that child for their whole lives, the perpetrators need to feel that pain too, need to know that the effect of their abuse doesn't end after 15 or 20 years, that it can go on until their last days. They need to live with the fear of being prosecuted until they die, just like the child deals with it until they die.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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