TWO sexual abuse survivors were shown a rare moment of acknowledgement of their right to dignity as they prepared to face the media at Parliament House yesterday.
Kirsty Pratt and Rockingham man Dean Wright have been championing the rights of sexual abuse survivors to have the statute of limitations removed so historic sexual abuse survivors can claim damages for decades old offences, not the six years as the law currently stands.
Attorney General John Quigley introduced a bill ending those limitation periods to State Parliament on Wednesday.
The pair, along with fellow survivors, watched proceedings as details of the legislation were nutted out.
On Thursday, a media conference was called and Mrs Pratt was asked to join the conference.
Mrs Pratt said she could not leave a fellow survivor and friend.
“We were about to walk out and face the media, when John Quigley turned and asked me to walk out with him,” she said.
“But I said to him ‘I can’t right now, my friend Dean is feeling a little overwhelmed’.
“Without missing a beat, he reached out to Dean and told him it will all be ok, held his hand and said ‘come with me my friend, we’ll do this together’.”
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found the average time for a victim to disclose child sexual abuse was 22 years.
Premier Mark McGowan said they had worked hard on the new bill.
“We are committed to ensuring survivors of child sex abuse are treated with dignity and respect,” he said.
“The sexual abuse of children is one of the worst crimes imaginable.
“The fact that these crimes may have happened many years ago should not be a barrier to being able to seek justice and compensation in our civil courts.
“I thank all sexual abuse victims for their patience and understanding.”
Mr Quigley said WA was the first state to introduce the bill.
“In a first for Australia, the Bill provides a legal basis for suing institutions in the name of their current office holders for historical child sexual abuse,” he said.
“Our Bill includes provisions to overcome the difficulties that a victim may face in identifying a proper defendant.
“It includes provisions overriding certain sections of the Federal corporations law, which will enable office holders to access the assets of related trusts and corporations for the purposes of satisfying the judgement amount.”