Child abuse victims will be able to sue church trust funds under new Palaszczuk Government reforms.
Child abuse victims will be able to sue church trust funds under new Palaszczuk Government reforms.

The new way abuse victims can sue churches

CHILD abuse victims will be able to sue the trust funds of churches under new reforms put before State Parliament.

The move will give victims a greater chance of securing compensation that otherwise could have been locked away.

The laws will also reverse the onus of proof, meaning an institution will have to prove it took all reasonable steps to prevent the abuse.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the news laws meant a judge could order that a claim proceed against a trustee when an institution failed to identify a proper defendant.

"The Palaszczuk Government wants to ensure, as much as possible, that survivors are not retraumatised as they seek the damages they rightfully deserve," she said.

"These amendments to the Civil Liability Act are important steps forward in pursuing access to justice for those who have suffered child sexual abuse in institutions in Queensland.

"This is intended to address the power imbalance between the victim and the institution."

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the reforms were aimed at getting abuse victims the “damages they rightfully deserve”. Picture: AAP/John Gass
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the reforms were aimed at getting abuse victims the “damages they rightfully deserve”. Picture: AAP/John Gass


Ms D'Ath said the laws would also impose a duty on institutions to take all reasonable steps to prevent abuse of a child while the child was under their care, supervision, control or authority.

The changes will also seek to prevent institutions from using their unincorporated status to escape legal liability.

The Bill will now be subject to further scrutiny before a Parliamentary Committee before it returns to Parliament early next year.

The proposed laws follow recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.