Extending time limits in sexual abuse cases

Gray, Anthony (2009) Extending time limits in sexual abuse cases. Common Law World Review, 38 (4). pp. 342-384. ISSN 1473-7795

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This paper considers current legislative provisions in a range of jurisdictions concerning the time within which an action related to alleged past sexual abuse must be brought. It argues that the legislative provisions were typically drafted in the context of someone who has delayed bringing proceedings through their own inaction and default; as a result these provisions struggle to deal with situations involving a victim of sexual abuse. Such victims may take a long time, if ever, to come to terms with the abuse. There are very good reasons in the psychological literature explaining the typical response of a victim of such a crime, and their unwillingness to come forward about the abuse until many years after the events may be perfectly understandable and justified. In such cases, it is submitted the law needs to take a more accommodating stand, perhaps not providing for a limitation period in respect of such cases, though the court would retain its inherent jurisdiction to stay matters where a hearing in such circumstances would likely be unfair or oppressive to parties to the case.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher (Vathek Publishing).
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Law
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2010 08:54
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2015 04:49
Uncontrolled Keywords: statute of limitations; sexual abuse; stay of proceedings; tort
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180126 Tort Law
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180122 Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180119 Law and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940405 Law Reform
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1350/clwr.2009.38.4.0199
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/7055

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