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Survivors waiting for redress

There are less than 9 weeks until the National Redress Scheme is supposed to start, already a year later than the Royal Commission said redress should begin. Queensland announced yesterday they would sign on to redress but is it too late for the July 1 deadline?

A National Redress Scheme was one of the earliest recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In 2015, the Royal Commission recommended the redress scheme begin no later than 1 July 2017. Years later, bills outlining the Government’s proposal for a redress scheme were introduced to Parliament on 26 October 2017. The bills have not been passed by either house or debated at all since the Senate Community Affairs Committee reported in March.

Now less than 9 weeks from 1 July 2018, the revised starting date proposed by the Government, abuse survivors still don’t know where they stand.

What is the National Redress Scheme?

The scheme will provide a multi-faceted approach to compensating survivors, whereby financial assistance is offered alongside psychological counselling and direct personal responses from the institution responsible. These personal responses will promote a culture of accountability and aim to provide survivors with validation and acknowledgement.

However, the scheme in its current form does differ in important ways from the blueprint originally recommended by the Royal Commission. Suggestions have been made that survivors who have been convicted of serious crimes should be prohibited from accessing compensation for past abuse. A cap on compensation has also been discussed, limiting payments at $150,000. The Royal Commission recommended a $200,000 limit and an average payment of $65,000.

When will the scheme begin?

New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and most recently Queensland have said they will participate in the National Redress Scheme. Other states have not yet publicised their stance.

Survivors have been waiting for decades for redress. There is no excuse for the states who have not yet signed on.

“A 'wait and see' approach puts survivors in unavoidable distress while they sit and wait and hope that the scheme will begin as planned,” says Katrina Stouppos, Senior Solicitor of Shine's Abuse Law team.

“The Government must act to implement the scheme promised by the Royal Commission over three years ago.”

Shine has consistently advocated for the urgent implementation of the redress scheme.

Accessing the scheme

Survivors have already been contacting us in distress wanting to know whether they can access redress. If you or a loved one would like more information about the scheme, or would like assistance in accessing the redress scheme, our Abuse Law team can help. Contact us to get the process started today.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: May 1, 2018.

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