• 1 June 2018

The National Redress Scheme A Response to Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Claims

A key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse was the implementation of a nation-wide Redress Scheme.

Subject to the passing of legislation, the scheme is set to start on 1 July 2018 and will provide support to people who were sexually abused as children in Commonwealth institutions.

State governments and non-government institutions have been encouraged to opt into the scheme to ensure redress is accessible to as many affected individuals as possible.

The NSW government has recently passed legislation, which will allow them to join the scheme once it is established.

The Catholic Church & Scouts Australia have already opted in. They will say this is a sign of good faith but in fact it may be a shrewd financial decision.

The scheme is intended to allow affected individuals to apply for a monetary payment up to a capped maximum amount of $150,000 (which would only be payable in the most extreme cases) in addition to access to counselling services and a direct response from the institution involved.

The scheme will also prohibit applicants from pursuing a civil damages claim through the court system where damages may be awarded well in excess of the amount offered under the Redress Scheme.

It is therefore important that victims of childhood sexual abuse seek legal advice about the merits and potential quantum of their claim at common law to allow them to make an informed decision about their best avenue for pursuing proper 'redress'.

Author: Rachael Watson, Lawyer

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