The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Victorian survivors of institutional child sexual abuse get the recognition, respect and support they deserve through redress.
The Labor Government will allocate $600 million over the next ten years towards redress, ensuring that thousands of survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in government institutions can access financial payments, as well as counselling and a direct response from the organisation responsible for their abuse.
Victoria was – together with New South Wales – the first state in Australia to opt in to the National Redress Scheme earlier this year, responding to a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Betrayal of Trust Report.
This week the Labor Government’s National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2018 became law, which makes it possible for Victorian government and non-government institutions to participate in the scheme, through a referral of powers to the Commonwealth.
The national scheme is due to commence on 1 July 2018, subject to Commonwealth legislation being passed in the Federal Parliament. Following the passage of Commonwealth legislation, survivors will be able to seek redress in relation to Victorian government institutions and participating non-government institutions from that day.
A number of non-government institutions have now signed up to the scheme, including the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Uniting Church, Salvation Army and the Scouts. All states and territories have now opted in to the scheme.
As part of the scheme, eligible survivors of institutional child sexual abuse will be able to seek a range of redress options including a monetary payment of up to $150,000, access to counselling services, and a direct personal response – such as an apology – from the institutions or organisations responsible for their abuse.
Applications for redress will be assessed by independent decision makers on a case-by-case basis, and survivors will be able to access independent legal advice funded under the scheme, before accepting any offers.
Once established, the Commonwealth Department of Human Services will operate the scheme.
The Labor Government has led the way in reforming sexual offence laws in recent years, including creating new laws to quash an unfair legal loophole preventing survivors from suing some organisations for their abuse.
We have also abolished civil claim time limits to allow lawsuits to be lodged regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, and we introduced an Australian-first ‘duty of care’ for organisations exercising care, supervision or authority over children.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“We’re making sure that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse receive the recognition, respect and support they deserve.”
“This is another important step in ensuring that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse are supported through financial assistance – if a survivor is eligible for redress payments funding will be made available.”