26 September 2023

Child abuse settlements to be examined

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A discussion paper on reforms to the justice system aimed at dismantling unjust settlement agreements between child abuse victims and responsible institutions has been released by the Attorney General.

The Attorney General, Mark Speakman called on the community to have their say on the discussion paper Setting aside settlement agreements for past child abuse claims before 15 April.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealed harrowing stories of survivors forced into unfair financial agreements,” Mr Speakman said.

“We’ve taken significant steps to overhaul the legal frameworks that allowed these deals to flourish – removing limitation periods for child abuse claims, joining the National Redress Scheme and breaking down barriers preventing survivors from suing institutions,” he said.

“But now we want to know your views on whether courts should have the power to reopen previously closed agreements between institutions and survivors of child abuse.”

Mr Speakman said the discussion paper asked 12 questions about the need for reform and how the reforms could operate in the best interests of survivors.

“Any potential changes would build on the NSW Government’s comprehensive response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” he said.

“While these reforms would go beyond the findings of the Royal Commission, we know how important this issue is to impacted survivors.”

Mr Speakman said ensuring greater access to justice for survivors was at the heart of the government’s response to the Royal Commission.

The 31-page discussion paper can be accessed via this PS News link.

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