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Redress Scheme update

Mental, physical and sexual abuse
Survivors of abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse listened to thousands of stories of survivors and family members of child sexual abuse in institutions.

The Royal Commission made many recommendations including the creation of a single National Redress Scheme to acknowledge the abuse that survivors have endured and recognise and hold institutions accountable.

National Redress Scheme 

In October 2017, the Government introduced bills to Parliament outlining a proposed Redress Scheme and on 1 July 2018 the National Redress Scheme began operation.  Applications are open until 30 June 2027. 

The National Redress Scheme allows survivors of institutional child sexual abuse to receive: 

  1. A direct personal response, such as an apology, from the responsible institution; 

  2. access to counselling and psychological services or payment of up to $5,000; and, 

  3. a National Redress Scheme payment of up to $150,000 (the average redress payment is around $80,000). 

Which institutions are participating?

The National Redress Scheme website keeps a list of thousands of institutions that are participating, including some institutions that no longer exist. If an institution is not listed because it no longer exists, the Scheme will investigate whether an existing participating institution will take on responsibility. 

As participation in the Redress Scheme is voluntary, some culpable non-government institutions refuse to participate. Where an institution refuses to participate a survivor can still make an application, however, unless the institution agrees to opt-in, the survivor may need to consider other forms of compensation or redress. 

How will the amount of redress be calculated?

The amount that a person will be awarded under the Redress Scheme is calculated taking into account the severity of the abuse, the impact of the abuse, as well as relevant circumstances. 

The maximum payment of $150,000 will only be paid in circumstances of extreme abuse including penetrative abuse of a person who was institutionally vulnerable, where there was related non-sexual abuse and where it would be reasonable to conclude that the sexual abuse was so egregious, long-term or disabling to the person as to be particularly severe. 

Prior payments made for abuse will be taken into account and deducted from any maximum payment amount offered to a survivor. Prior payments do not include payments received for medical care or legal costs and are adjusted for inf. 

The amount of the redress compensation cannot be used to recover debts due to the Commonwealth and is not subject to income tax. 

Standard of proof

The test of ‘reasonable likelihood’ is the standard applied to assess applications for redress. ‘Reasonable likelihood’ means that the chance of an event occurring or not occurring is real – not fanciful or remote. When the Redress Scheme was being designed, some institutions argued that a higher standard of proof should apply because insurance companies will not allow the institutions to recoup their losses if the threshold is as low as ‘reasonable likelihood’. This concern was dismissed as irrelevant in the context of the overarching goal, which is to provide a survivor-focused redress scheme to those who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. 

Definition of sexual abuse 

For the purposes of the Redress Scheme, sexual abuse of a child is defined as including: 

“…any act which exposes the person to, or involves the person in, sexual processes beyond the person’s understanding or contrary to accepted community standards (e.g. exposing a child to pornography).” 

Survivors will be able to include multiple episodes of sexual abuse and related non-sexual abuse suffered in multiple institutions in one application. However, each survivor is limited to one application for redress. Individualised advice about whether abuse is sexual in nature should be obtained before making an application. 

Criminal convictions

People with criminal convictions for which they served a custodial sentence of five or more years are still eligible to seek a redress payment. However, on this occasion, the Redress Scheme applies a special process. This involves the Redress Scheme considering information about: 

  • the nature of the offence and length of imprisonment it carried; 

  • the period of time since the offence was committed and rehabilitation since the offence; and 

  • any other relevant information. 

Acceptance of offers of redress 

Survivors are able to choose whether to accept one, two or all three of the components of redress. Applicants who are offered a redress payment have six months to decide whether to accept the offer. The scheme may agree to an extension of time for a further six months in some circumstances if requested. 

Legal advice

Survivors may find legal advice helpful at different stages of their application including: 

  • prior to the application so survivors understand eligibility requirements and the application process of the scheme; 

  • during the completion of an application; 

  • after a survivor has received an offer of redress and elects to seek an internal review; and, 

  • on the effect of signing the acceptance document, which contains the release of future civil liability for participating responsible institutions and its impact on the prospect of future litigation. 

This advice can be provided for free by contacting know more. Survivors may also choose to engage private lawyers to help navigate the process, Shine Lawyers have an expert team of lawyers who are experienced in abuse law and can help you achieve justice. Contact Shine Lawyers today for a confidential, obligation-free consultation. 

Deed of release

A person who accepts an offer of redress will be required to release responsible participating institutions from liability for the sexual abuse (and related non-sexual abuse) for which redress is being provided. 

However, survivors who signed deeds of release when offered low payments from institutions in the past will have those deeds waived by participating institutions to allow these survivors to access a top-up payment through redress.

You may be entitled to claim compensation. Start the process with our simple and free online tool.

What we will ask: 

  • Questions to help us understand your experience and how your life has been impacted. Your responses will help us define the best course of action for your claim. 

What happens next:

  • Either book a no-obligation appointment with an abuse law expert right away or,    

  • Speak with our team about your options

How Shine can help

We have helped thousands of Australians right wrong and access more than $1 billion per year in entitlements and compensation through our expert services.  

95% of the cases we represent are settled without the stress of going to court.

We offer access to affordable legal advice including on a No Win, No Fee* basis and an obligation-free initial consultation so you can understand your rights and know where you stand. 

We are ready to take action, supporting your choice not to be silenced and right wrong.

*Conditions apply

Do you have a claim?  

We’re here to make the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible.

Survivors of abuse FAQs

Is there an abuse lawyer near me?

With more than 40 branches across Australia and 1000+ team members, location is no barrier when it comes to accessing Shine Lawyers' legal advice and support.

If you’d like to speak to our abuse law team in person, you can see our full list of locations here.

If you aren‘t able to find a location near you, we can easily arrange an obligation-free virtual appointment or discuss the option to meet at a location that’s comfortable and convenient for you. No matter where you are located, we will always provide the same, expert advice and manage your claim with the same level of quality and commitment.

Can I represent myself, or do I need an abuse lawyer?

It is possible to legally represent yourself when making a claim however, doing so successfully will likely require a thorough understanding of the law, your legal rights and entitlements, and a commitment to actively pursue the case to move it forward. Without an experienced abuse lawyer in your corner, it can be difficult to identify and highlight the strengths of your case. Without the right legal advice and support, you then may not receive the compensation you're entitled to. A lawyer can help you maximise your lump sum entitlements.

Why trust Shine to be my abuse lawyers?

At Shine Lawyers, we put your first. We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we are here to help you get the justice you deserve.

Our empathy, understanding and expertise is why we’re ahead of the pack. We’ll stand with you and guide you through every step of the way.

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