National redress scheme for child abuse survivors announced

Friday 4 November 2016
Bree Knoester

In September 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that the Australian Government establish a national redress scheme for survivors. The Turnbull Government today confirmed their commitment to this recommendation with the announcement of a Commonwealth Redress Scheme.

“The Coalition’s commitment to deliver on a national scheme is a significant step towards helping survivors get their lives back on track,” says Partner, Bree Knoester. “The Victorian Government should also be applauded for their dedication to abuse survivors and their commitment to the implementation of a scheme to date.”

The Commonwealth Redress Scheme is due to be established by 2018, and will allow survivors access to a direct personal response, psychological counselling and a monetary payment of compensation of up to $150,000. An independent advisory council comprising of survivor groups, legal and psychological experts will be established to advise on implementation of the scheme.

The Government is further committed to preventing future child sexual abuse by funding early intervention services.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter stated that the scheme would run for a minimum of 10 years. The cost to the Government is estimated to be between $570 million and $770 million over the initial 10 year period.

For the scheme to be truly national and allow equal access to redress, all states, territories and other non-government institutions (i.e. churches and charities) need to opt-in. Entities who join will be required to pay out eligible claims against them.

The Government is unable to force participation into the scheme, and South Australia has already opted out.

As an outcome of recommendations and findings from the 2013 Betrayal of Trust report, the Victorian Government has previously stated their commitment to the implementation of a redress scheme, while remaining open to participating in a national redress scheme.

Acting for many victims of abuse, Bree Knoester guides and supports her clients through the legal process with consistent and carefully considered advice. For a confidential discussion, you can contact Bree on her direct telephone number (03) 9321 9879.

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