A National Redress Scheme for Victorian survivors of institutional child sexual abuse is a step closer under new laws introduced by the Andrews Labor Government today.
Under the Victorian National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2018, the Government will refer powers to the Commonwealth to ensure that Victorian state institutions participate in 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 monetary payments of up to $150,000, access to counselling services, and direct personal responses – 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.
The Bill also paves the way for churches, charities and other non-government organisations operating in Victoria to participate in the scheme.
The scheme is due to commence on 1 July 2018, subject to Commonwealth legislation being passed in the Federal Parliament. Victoria was one of the first states in the country to sign up to the national scheme earlier this year.
Once established, the Commonwealth Department of Human Services will operate the scheme.
The reforms respond to a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Betrayal of Trust Report.
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
“Today represents an important step forward for Victorian survivors of institutional child sexual abuse who have been waiting for a national response to redress.”
“These reforms are a key part of ensuring that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse receive the recognition, respect and support they deserve.”
“It is now time for Victorian churches, charities and other non-government organisations to sign-up to the scheme. Survivors have waited long enough.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020