The purpose of the National Redress Scheme is to acknowledge the impact of institutional child sexual abuse on victims.
It is the result of a Royal Commission sexual abuse investigation that mentioned almost 3,500 institutions – with 58.1% of those being a religious organisation, 32.5% being Government-run and 10.5% non-religious institutions. As a result of the investigation, the Redress Scheme was set up to acknowledge that, firstly, many children were sexually abused in Australian institutions, and secondly, that this abuse caused harm and the impact of that childhood trauma in adults continues.
The Scheme holds those institutions accountable for the abuse and helps people who have suffered the abuse to gain access to counselling services, a direct response from the institution, and a financial payment of up to $150,000. It is estimated that around 90% of survivors of child sexual abuse in Australian institutions will be eligible to make a claim.
What Is A “Participating Institution”?
Institutions were required to apply by December 31, 2020 to become part of the Scheme. By doing so, that organisation agreed to provide redress to people who experienced child sexual abuse through exposure to, or while in, that institution. By signing up, institutions are acknowledging that abuse DID happen and those who suffered from the abuse deserve compensation.
There are many institutions that have already joined the Scheme, including all Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, along with many major churches and charities, such as the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army. When an institution agrees to take part, their name is updated on the National Redress Scheme website.
If you want to search the full list of participating institutions, you can do so via the links above, or by calling the National Redress Scheme on 1800 737 377.
What If An Institution Isn’t On The List?
If an institution that was responsible for your child abuse is not on the list, you can still make an application, but it won’t be considered until they have signed up to take part. When you apply in this case, the Scheme will contact that institution and they’ll be given six months to join. If they fail to do so, the institution will be publicly identified by the Scheme in accordance with the Scheme’s legislation and jurisdictions.
Currently, there are three (operating) organisations that did not meet the deadline to sign up, despite being named in the Royal Commission, or having an application made for the Scheme. These are:
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Kenja Communication
- Fairbridge (Restored) Limited
As a result of their failure to meet the deadline, these organisations are no longer eligible to receive Australian Government grant funding. And like these, any other institution that has not joined by their deadline will be publicly named, will have financial sanctions applied, and they may even lose their status as a charity.
In the event they fail to sign up by deadline, you may seek legal counsel.
How AJB Can Help
The Scheme commenced on July 8, 2018 and will operate for 10 years, so you have until 2028 to file your child sexual abuse claims.
Eligible survivors can apply to the scheme, based on two things:
- that the institution has joined, as mentioned above; and
- that the Department of Social Services has approved your eligibility for National Redress Scheme payments
If you have already received redress through other schemes or claims, you can still apply, however any payments you have received already will be taken into account. This is also the case if you have been abused at more than one institution. When you receive payment, you will be required to sign a statutory release stating that you will not bring any civil proceedings against the institution or its officials in future.
If you’re unsure of the best way forward for you, AJB can assist with the right legal advice and to discuss whether this redress would be the best path forward for you. If you need a lawyer for child abuse case information, or to learn more about child abuse laws Australia, our team can help. Get in touch today.