New Bill to help victims of sex abuse

Sjanna SandalovaGreat Southern Herald

Roe MLA Peter Rundle has welcomed the introduction of a Bill to remove the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse.

WA Attorney General John Quigley introduced a Bill on November 22 after a pre-election promise by the Labor Government and pressure from the Nationals.

It comes as Roe MLA Peter Rundle called on Premier Mark McGowan and Mr Quigley earlier this month to apologise to victims of child sex abuse because of delays in tabling legislation.

Mr Rundle said victims of child sex abuse were consequently misled by the Premier and Attorney General, who promised the legislation would be a top priority once in Government.

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“When in opposition, Mr Quigley said this Bill would be one of the first presented to Parliament, but eight months later and there was still no legislation in sight, until now,” Mr Rundle said.

“I like to think the pressure we put on helped in some way to bring forward the legislation sooner rather than later.”

Mr Rundle, who made strong references to the St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning, where children where sexually abused throughout the 1970s and 1980s, said he was pleased for all victims who had been waiting for this legislation to be introduced.

In his parliamentary speech, Mr Quigley said the Bill removed limitation periods for all child sexual abuse actions, both retrospectively and going forward.

“The sexual abuse of children is one of the most abhorrent crimes imaginable and the fact these crimes may have happened many years ago should not be a barrier to being able to seek justice and compensation in our civil courts,” Mr Quigley said.

Katanning made headlines in recent years during the trial and conviction of serial paedophile Dennis McKenna, who was the warden at St Andrew’s Hostel in the 1970s and 1980s.

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