National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

For more information please call the National Redress Information Line – 1800 146 713

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. On 30 April 2018, the Northern Territory and Queensland governments announced they would also join the Scheme.

This will also allow non-government institutions like churches and charities in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Queensland to join the Scheme.

The Australian Government is negotiating with the South Australian, Tasmanian and Western Australian governments, and we hope they 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
  • It must include sexual abuse.
  • An institution must be responsible for the abuse. The Scheme doesn’t cover non-institutional abuse, such as by a family member.
Where and when it happened
  • The abuse must have happened when the person was aged under 18.
  • It must have happened before 1 July 2018, when the Scheme starts (subject to the passage of legislation).
  • The institution or organisation responsible for the abuse must have joined the Redress Scheme. So far, only the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victorian and Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Queensland governments have agreed to join the scheme.
A person’s life now
  • The person applying must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

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