In response to the Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Commonwealth announced a Redress Scheme to provide support to people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of an institution (the scheme does not cover non-institutional abuse such as by family members). The Scheme is set to commence on 1 July 2018, and will run for 10 years.
The Redress Scheme is an opt in scheme. To date all States and Territories other than Western Australia have joined the scheme allowing non-government institutions like churches and charities in these States and Territories to join the Scheme.
What does the Redress Scheme Provide?
The Redress Scheme provides three things:
• access to psychological counselling
• a direct personal response – such as an apology from the responsible institution for people who want it
• a monetary payment.
Payments will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the severity and impact of the abuse experienced with a maximum of $150,000.
Who can Access the Scheme?
Access to the Redress Scheme depends on:
• the type of abuse a person experienced
• where and when it happened
• a person’s life now.
Type of Abuse
The abuse must include sexual abuse and the institution must be responsible for the abuse. Only one application can be made per person even if there are multiple institutions involved.
Where it Happened
The institution or organisation responsible for the abuse must have joined the Redress Scheme. To date the Scheme includes all Commonwealth institutions (including the Australian Defence Force and cadet school and onshore immigration detention centres) and all State and Territory institutions except Western Australia.
When it Happened
The abuse must have happened before 1 July 2018 to a person under the age of 18 years.
Person’s Life Now
The person applying must be an Australian citizen or resident.
Any previous compensation received from an institution will be deducted from the payment awarded under the Redress Scheme.
The Redress Scheme is an alternative to getting compensation through the courts. You can do one or the other, but not both. It is therefore very important that if you are considering making an application to the Redress Scheme you obtain advice as to whether or not you have a common law claim in the courts and which avenue of compensation is best for you. Segelov Taylor can provide advice and act for you on a no win no fee basis.