Emil Ford Lawyers

National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, in its 2015 Redress and civil litigation report, recommended that the Australian Government should establish a single national redress scheme. Having accepted this recommendation, the Government introduced into the Parliament in May 2018 the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2018. The intention is that the National Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse will commence on 1 July 2018. The Scheme will run for 10 years.

The Scheme will be operated by the Secretary of the Department of Social Services. While the Australian Government will underwrite the establishment of the Scheme, the ongoing administration costs will be shared between the participating institutions. All Commonwealth institutions, such as Commonwealth Departments and bodies established under Commonwealth law, are participating institutions. All State and Territory institutions are also participating institutions. Non-government institutions, such as independent schools, churches or sporting clubs, are participating institutions if they agree to participate in the Scheme. For example, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Uniting Church, the Salvation Army, Scouts Australia and the YMCA have all committed to joining the Scheme.

Redress under the Scheme is available to people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of a participating institution. Redress consists of three components:

  1. a redress payment (of up to $150,000); and
  2. a counselling and psychological component which, depending on where the person lives,  consists of access to counselling and psychological services or a counselling and  psychological services payment (of up to $5,000); and
  3. a direct personal response from each participating institution responsible for the abuse.

Where a person makes an application under the Scheme, the Operator is to consider the matter. This might include making further enquiries of the applicant and also enquiries of any relevant institutions. If the Operator considers that there is a reasonable likelihood that the applicant is eligible for redress, the Operator must approve the application and make an offer of redress to the person. The person may accept or decline the offer.

If the person accepts the offer, then the person becomes entitled to redress under the Scheme. The person is required to release particular institutions and officials from all civil liability for the abuse. Those institutions and officials are the participating institutions determined by the Operator to be responsible for the abuse, their officials, their associates and the officials of their associates. The abuser is not released from liability.

The Operator will find that there is a reasonable likelihood that the applicant was sexually abused if the chance of that person being abused is real, is not fanciful or remote and is more than merely plausible. This is, of course, a much lower standard than would be required of a person bringing a claim for damages in a civil court.

The participating institutions that the Operator determines to be responsible for the abuse of a person are liable for the costs of providing redress to the person.

If you require assistance in deciding whether or not to opt into the Scheme, or for more information about the operation of the Scheme, please contact .


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