Organisations would be covered by tougher laws to compensate victims of abuse if they fail to take adequate care of their charges, under new laws proposed by the NSW Opposition.
Labor will this week seek to progress the Civil Liability (Institutional Child Abuse) bill in the NSW Parliament.
It adopts a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse that called for greater accountability by institutions for the care of their charges.
Labor’s bill would ensure religious institutions, community organisations, childcare faculties and government bodies will have to prove they took reasonable steps to protect children under their care from abuse.
The change would mean that the institutions as well as the individuals working for them would now be liable to pay out compensation to victims.
It would apply to victims who were under the age of 18 at the time the offence was committed. Victoria has adopted the same laws already.
“Abuse victims have been through enough of an ordeal to then have to navigate complex and confusing laws.
“As legislators we need to make it easier for victims of abuse to seek redress and hopefully bring closure to a traumatic episode in their lives.
“The Royal Commission called on the states and territories to act independently in ensuring institutions that are responsible for the safety of children in their care are more accountable; Labor is heeding that call.
“I call on the NSW Government to support our bill and put in place strong laws to better protect children in care in the future.
“These laws will clarify a complex and complicated set of rules about compensation.
“All the State Government has done so far is issue a discussion paper. It will be at least another year before it legislates anything.”