Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse
The Redress Scheme is a new government program. It will provide support to people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of an institution.
The plan to have a Redress Scheme came from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It is one way the government is working to acknowledge and help people who experienced child sexual abuse.
Subject to the passage of legislation, the Scheme will start on 1 July 2018, and will run for 10 years.
It is designed so that relevant organisations take responsibility to make amends for sexual abuse that happened to children they were looking after.
The Australian Government is creating the Scheme, and it has promised to provide redress to people who were abused in places that were run by the Commonwealth. This includes places such as the Australian Defence Forces and cadet schools and onshore immigration detention.
So that redress can be provided to as many people as possible, other governments and organisations need to join the Scheme, which is called ‘opting in’. The Australian Government is pushing for all state governments, churches, charities and other non-government organisations to join up.
On 9 March 2018, the New South Wales and Victorian governments announced that they will join the scheme and provide redress to people who were sexually abused as children, in those states, in places like state operated schools and out of home care. On 19 March 2018, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government announced it they would join the scheme.
This will also allow non-government institutions in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, like churches and charities to join the Scheme – if they opt in.
The Australian Government is negotiating with the other states and territories and we hope others will opt in soon. When each state government and institution joins up, it promises to pay for redress for people who were abused in its care.
The Redress Scheme can provide 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.
Redress is not compensation – it is about acknowledging the harm caused, and supporting people who have experienced child sexual abuse in an institution to move forward positively in the way that is best for them.
The Redress Scheme is an alternative to getting compensation through the courts – you can do one or the other, but not both.
Who can apply?
Like any government scheme, there are rules about who can apply.
Access to the Redress Scheme depends on:
- the type of abuse a person experienced
- where and when it happened
- a person’s life now.
|The type of abuse||
|Where and when it happened||
|A person’s life now||
How can I get more information?
You can phone the National Redress Information Line – 1800 146 713
You can subscribe to receive updates about the Scheme.
What support services are currently available for people who experienced abuse?
Royal Commission Community-Based Support Services are funded to 30 June 2018, and can provide support for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse ahead of the commencement of Redress Support Services. A complete list of support services can be found on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website.
New Redress Support Services will be funded as part of the Redress Scheme from 1 July 2018.
Additionally, 24 hour telephone assistance is available through:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- 1800 Respect: 1800 737 732
- MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978.
On 9 March 2018, the New South Wales and Victorian governments agreed to join the Redress Scheme, becoming the first state governments to sign up. On 19 March 2018, the Australian Capital Territory announced it would also join the Scheme.
This means that subject to the passage of legislation, around 15,500 people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victorian and Australian Capital Territory government institutions can apply for the Redress Scheme when it starts on 1 July 2018.
This includes an estimated 1,000 people who were abused in Commonwealth institutions, 9,000 people who were abused in New South Wales Government institutions, over 5,000 people who were abused in Victorian Government institutions, and over 200 people who were abused in the Australian Capital Territory.
Over the next two years, we expect most state governments and many more institutions to opt in to the Redress Scheme. Eventually, we want the Scheme to cover all governments, churches, major charities and other non-government organisations. If that happens, up to 60,000 people will be able to apply for redress.
- Media release 19 March 2018 – ACT Government announces it will join the Scheme
- Media release 9 March 2018: First states commit to Redress Scheme
- Media release 9 May 2017: Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
- Media release 4 November 2016: Commonwealth redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse
Questions and answers
How long will the Scheme run for?
The Scheme will run for 10 years to 30 June 2028.
Subject to the passage of legislation, people can lodge applications from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2027.
What will the application process be?
Subject to the passage of legislation, from 1 July 2018 people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victorian and Australian Capital Territory government institutional settings will be able to apply for redress, either through a paper form or an online platform.
A dedicated website and telephone helpline will be available to provide information.
Specialist free legal support services and community support services will also be funded to assist people throughout the application process.
What about the people who experienced abuse in states other than New South Wales, Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory?
The New South Wales, Victorian and Australian Capital Territory governments have now agreed to join the Redress Scheme. This means that people who experienced abuse in the care of these governments will be able to access the scheme when it starts on 1 July 2018, subject to the passage of legislation. People who experienced abused in the care of the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia governments cannot access the scheme until that government joins in. The Commonwealth Government is continuing discussions with these remaining state and territory governments, as well as non-government institutions, with the intention to deliver the best outcome for people across Australia who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
What about people who experienced abuse in a non-government institution like a church?
Non–government institutions need to each agree to join the Scheme so that people who experienced abuse while in their care can access redress. This includes non-government institutions in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
What happens if an institution refuses to participate in the Scheme?
The Commonwealth Government continues to work closely with state and territory governments and non-government institutions, including churches and charities. The Commonwealth Government remains confident there is a strong willingness from governments and institutions to make amends and participate in a Scheme.
How will redress payments affect Centrelink or other Government payments?
Redress payments will be non-taxable and protected from Commonwealth debt recovery processes. Payments will also be exempt from any income tests that are relevant to other Australian Government payments.
What kind of help will be available under the Scheme?
The Government understands that making an application for redress may be a very difficult experience and that people may need support and assistance through this process.
The Royal Commission recommended that community-based support services be available to support people applying for the scheme, and that is the approach we are taking.
Redress Support Services will be available with the Scheme to provide timely access to trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support for people during the application process. This includes helping people to prepare and submit their application, and supporting them as they receive a decision on their application.
In addition, the scheme will also provide access to free specialist Legal Support Services and financial counselling.
What else is the Commonwealth doing to protect children?
The Australian Government works with state and territory governments, law enforcement agencies, the community sector and researchers to keep children safe. This includes work under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children to develop the National Statement of Principles on Child Safe Organisations, as well as funding for a range of early intervention and prevention services, including:
- Children and Parent Support Services
- Communities for Children Facilitating Partners
- Intensive Family Support Services.
See details of funded organisations at http://serviceproviders.dss.gov.au.