A law that prevented survivors of childhood abuse in Scotland being able to sue for damages after three years has been abolished.
The move will allow victims of abuse dating back as far as 1964 to seek compensation for their injuries through the civil courts.
However, victims in England and Wales will still have to abide by the three-year time limit, therefore denying justice to thousands of people with otherwise legitimate claims.
The cut-off in Scotland has been removed by the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill, which was unanimously approved when MSPs voted in the Scottish Parliament by a margin of 115 to zero.
The bill allows the three-year time bar to be lifted so long as the victim was a child under the age of 18 when they suffered sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing said: “Child abuse is the most horrific betrayal of our young people and, even where such crimes were committed decades ago, we will do all we can to help survivors get the justice they deserve.
“This legal milestone would not have happened but for the courage of many adult survivors whose persistence and dedication have shone a light on the dark realities of child abuse.”
The Scottish government has estimated a potential 2,200 victims will be affected by the change in the law.
How can Gotelee help?
Hopefully, the long-overdue decision to amend the law in Scotland will be the catalyst for similar change in England and Wales, but this is not the case and anyone considering making a claim for compensation should consult a solicitor sooner rather than later since delaying may affect their ability to successfully pursue their case because of the law of limitation.
Child sexual abuse is a highly complex subject, with victims often too afraid to speak out until many years later.
However, the courts are there to ensure victims obtain the justice to which they are entitled – and at Gotelee Solicitors, our specialist team of lawyers offer sensitive care and expert guidance.
Gotelee is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and can rely upon an extensive team of experts, including doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists and specialist barristers.