What’s the statute of limitations for sexual assault?

PUBLISHED 21 Jan 2020

The statute of limitations for sexual assault vary depending on where you live, how old you were when the assault occurred, whether the assault was a single incident or ongoing, whether the assault was perpetrated by a family member, an acquaintance, a stranger, or under the umbrella of an institution, and so on.

Criminal rules for reporting can have different statutes of limitations than common law claims. There is no criminal statute of limitations for reporting a sexual assault, but if you do not claim injuries within a specific time frame, your options may be limited.

Victims of criminal injuries

If the sexual assault was recent, you may qualify for a payment through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act. You must make your claim within three years from:

  • The date of the offence
  • The date of the last offence, in the case of several offences against you over time by the same offender.

The three-year time limit runs from the date of the offence, regardless of your age, and can be extended by the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation if you have a good reason or reasons for not making the claim within that time.

If you believe you have a claim but are outside the time limit, you should get legal advice. There may still be grounds for a claim.

Personal injury claims for sexual assault

Common law personal injury made against offenders typically must be made within 3 years of the date of the offence for a common law compensation claim to be filed. However, there can be mitigating circumstances. If you have been sexually assaulted but more than 3 years have passed, you may still be able to make a claim. Seek legal counsel to find out if you could qualify. If there is a criminal case against the offender, civil action must wait until it is concluded. However, there is no requirement for a conviction, and civil cases have a lower standard of proof than criminal court. Even if the offender is not found liable in criminal court, a civil case can still be successful.

Childhood sexual assault

If you were underage when sexual assault occurred, there is no statute of limitations for a compensation claim to be made, and you may be able to recover from an institution or organisation if it can be proven that there was knowledge of the assault or risk of assault and nothing was done to protect you.

We have experience in successfully pursuing compensation claims regarding sexual assault. For more information, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.