Sexual assault: towards an abolition of the limitation period

Agression sexuelle: vers une abolition du délai de prescription

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The canadian Press
The minister of Justice, Sonia LeBel, intends to erase the period of 30 years including a sexual assault victim has to institute a civil action against their abuser.

The minister of Justice, Sonia LeBel, intends to erase the period of 30 years including a sexual assault victim has to institute a civil action against their abuser.

It has introduced bill c-55 designed to “make indefeasible the action for damages for bodily injury to “any victim” of an assault of a sexual nature, of the violence suffered during childhood or the violence of a spouse or a former spouse ” to the national Assembly on Thursday morning. She deserved the applaud fed of the deputies present in the Room, including opposition parties.

It is “an important moment, a beautiful moment,” said the co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Québec solidaire and the Parti québécois are in turn said to be prepared to adopt the draft law 55 by Friday, June 12, while consulting different groups in the parliamentary commission. The government house leader, Simon Jolin-Barrette, took the ball.

It is a victory for victims of sexual violence, including victims of priests or brothers. “Finally, justice will be accessible to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence,” noted the Grouping of agencies and people in favour of the abolition of the statute of limitations after a long struggle.

At the present time, an action for damages for personal injury arising out of an assault of a sexual nature, of the violence suffered during childhood, or the violence of a spouse or a former spouse shall be barred for 30 years from the day on which the victim had knowledge that his injury was attributable to that act, provides for the civil Code of Québec.

The draft law 55 provides that an action has been rejected in the past on the sole ground that the statute of limitations had acquired it can be introduced again to court, and this, for a period of three years.

Other details will follow.

An excuse is not an admission

The minister Sonia LeBel proposes to clarify in the Quebec civil Code that”an apology cannot constitute an admission”. An excuse — any event either express or implied, of sympathy or regret — “may not be admitted into evidence, have a bearing on the determination of fault or liability, interrupt the prescription, or cancel or decrease the insurance coverage to which an insured or a third party has the right”, one can read in bill 55.

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