All institutions must join the National Redress Scheme for survivors of child abuse, or face consequences for their lack of action. With the federal government maintaining a list of 100 institutions that haven’t yet joined the scheme, plus priests potentially being legally forced to break the seal of the confessional, time is running out for institutions to “run and hide”.
The Commonwealth plus all state and territory governments have joined the scheme, and laws are in place allowing non-government institutions to join. Several religious and other non-government institutions have already committed to the scheme including the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches, the Salvation Army and Scouts Australia. However, more than 100 other institutions have yet to commit.
In Victoria, the State Government is making plans to introduce new laws by the end of the year that would force priests to divulge confessions of abuse, despite the Catholic Church’s assertion that it would maintain the anonymity of the confession booth.
Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher has stated that around 900 of the 2,728 applications for redress are presently on hold because the institutions responsible have not yet joined the scheme.
To find out which institutions have and have not yet joined the scheme visit https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/institutions/search.
What is the National Redress Scheme?
The National Redress Scheme was set up to help people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. It offers eligible abuse survivors a payment of up to $150,000, access to counselling and a personal response from the institution.
Can I join the scheme?
You are eligible to join the National Redress Scheme if you:
- Experienced institutional child sexual abuse before 1 July, 2018 from an institution that has joined the National Redress Scheme.
- Are over 18 years old or will turn 18 before 30 June, 2028.
- Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- Apply between July 2018 and June 2027. To find out more visit https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/applying.
Joining the scheme for institutions
The federal government is working closely with institutions that have not yet joined the scheme to make the process as quick as possible. Institutions have to provide a list of their current and previous locations and also show they are “operationally ready”, i.e. demonstrate how they will pay for Redress and respond personally to survivors.
How Shine Lawyers can help
If you’re seeking justice for child sexual abuse, you have the option to do so under the National Redress Scheme or to seek compensation under civil law. Shine’s abuse law experts will offer you professional guidance and help you determine which avenue is the right one for your particular circumstances. For more information and to contact us visit https://www.shine.com.au/service/abuse-law/royal-commission/national-redress-scheme.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: March 11, 2019.