This Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week serves as a reminder that the Government must take urgent action to help survivors of past child sexual abuse.
Currently, the law dictates that survivors who wish to bring civil claims against their abusers must do so within three years of the abuse, or within three years of turning 18 if they were abused as a child.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) final report, which investigated historical sexual abuse in England and Wales, recommended removing this three-year time limit and for good reason.
Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse find it difficult to seek justice within the timeframe allowed by the law.
Trauma, shame, mistrust in authorities, and fear are some of the very valid reasons why people hold back on speaking out, let alone take the step to seek justice.
For survivors to be willing finally to go through the ordeal of proving their cases only to then discover they were not quick enough to act can be devastating for them.
The Scottish Government removed this ‘time bar’ in 2017. The Government in Westminster must now implement IICSA’s recommendation without delay.
Kim Harrison, Executive Committee Member
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).