Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

APIL calls for time limit on child abuse claims to be abolished

11 Feb 2021
APIL news

It can take many years for someone who has suffered sexual abuse as a child to tell a soul about what happened, let alone consider either reporting the abuse to the police or contemplating a compensation claim. This can be because of feelings of fear, shame, guilt and deep anxiety about the possibility of not being believed. But survivors of historical child sexual abuse are expected to overcome all these hurdles to find their voices and then find the courage to make their claims within three years after they reach the age of 18.


The law must recognise that these claims will almost always be brought late. Judges do have some discretion to allow cases to run after the time limit, but the uncertainty about getting the case heard can make things too overwhelming for a survivor. Many simply cannot face the fight and give up on pursuing the compensation which can help put their lives back on track before they ever really start.


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has looked at this issue and is due to publish its final report next year. I hope that its recommendations include the abolition of this exceptionally unfair time limit.


Sam Elsby


The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers



Past letters to the press

Northern Ireland bereavement law is out of touch, 08 Nov 2021
Bereavement laws for fathers are outdated, 21 Oct 2021
Medical litigation (The Times 14 July) , 14 Jul 2021
The Times re: Tight leash on whiplash crash claims, 29 May, 02 Jun 2021
MoD shirking responsibility to pay compensation to injured veterans after six years, 28 Jul 2020
Regional newspapers: Being late is taken more seriously than being injured needlessly, 28 Jan 2020
The Scotsman re: Rachel Henry and Alistair Kinley: Fraudulent and dishonest claims getting off Scot-free, 16 Jan 2020
To The Scotsman re: Scotland set to become first choice to bring personal injury actions , 04 Nov 2019

More past letters to the press

Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400

Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416

Press & Communications Officer
Iman Anthony
0115 943 5431