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Time limit to go in Tas child abuse claims

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Megan Neil

Tasmania will become the latest state to make it easier for child abuse victims to sue for damages by removing time limits.

The government is drafting new laws to abolish limitation periods for civil claims for damages for victims of child sexual and physical abuse, Tasmanian Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin said on Monday.

Ms Goodwin said the government acknowledged survivors found it incredibly difficult to report the abuse to authorities, which often impacted on when crimes were reported and civil litigation was taken.

"The impact of child sexual abuse is significant and long lasting, and the government is acting to ensure victims do not have unnecessary roadblocks placed in their way when seeking justice," she said in a statement.

She said the abolition of the limitation period will apply retrospectively, subject to the approval of parliament.

The child sexual abuse royal commission recommended removing time limits for when damages claims must be commenced, noting survivors could take years and even decades to disclose their sexual abuse as a child.

Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the ACT have abolished the time limits.

The royal commission noted most time limitations that apply under state legislation for personal injury actions are three years.

In Tasmania the limitation period has generally been three years from the date of discoverability or when the claimant first knew of the injury.

The legislation is expected to go before the Tasmanian parliament in 2017.

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