What is the National Redress Scheme?

The National Redress Scheme (‘NRS’) is the Commonwealth Government’s response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Through the NRS, the Government aims to:

  • acknowledge that there has been abuse;
  • support adult-child sexual abuse survivors by providing psychological counselling and/or financial compensation. It is common for survivors of child sexual abuse to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and addictions throughout their lives;
  • hold those responsible, accountable for the abuse.

national-redress-scheme

If you are found to be eligible under the NRS, you may be entitled to funded counselling and psychological services, a direct response from the institution and/or a National Redress Payment.

The National Redress Payment is, in part, a recognition of the profound consequences that child sexual abuse can have throughout an individual’s life. It is common for survivors to experience education, employment and economic disadvantages, in addition to the mental health impact of abuse.

Who is eligible?

The NRS applies to child sexual abuse. It does not apply to physical or mental abuse that is unconnected to child sexual abuse. The NRS is not available to everyone who has suffered child sexual abuse, however:

  • the child sexual abuse must have occurred at or in connection with an ‘institution’;
  • the NRS only provides support or redress where the abuse occurred at those institutions that have signed up to the scheme. Currently, this includes Commonwealth, state and territory governments, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, the Uniting Church, the YMCA and Scouts Australia. You can read more about participating institutions here;
  • it is not available to individuals who fail to satisfy the eligibility criteria, which includes those who have been imprisoned for more than five years, and survivors who already have a prior settled claim with the institution in question.

What can you apply for?

As mentioned, by applying to the NRS you may be eligible for counselling, a National Redress Payment, or a direct response from the institution in relation to sexual abuse. The amount you can receive through a National Redress Payment can range from $10,000 to $150,000. The NRS expects to pay out around $76,000 on average.

If you have previously received a payment for child sexual abuse from the institution, this will be deducted from the total amount you can receive. The decision on your payment will be made by what is defined in the NRS as, an ‘Independent Decision Maker’. The decision must be made in accordance with a formal assessment matrix as specified in the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Assessment Framework 2018. This matrix determines the payment by reference to the type of abuse that occurred as well as the circumstances of the abuse. You have a right to seek a review of this decision.

Why you should seek legal help before applying through the National Redress Scheme website

You should seek legal advice before applying through the NRS as the NRS seriously impacts on your legal rights and entitlements. Under section 43 of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018, accepting a National Redress Payment bars you from bringing a civil claim for compensation from that institution through the courts. Depending on what occurred, a civil claim for compensation may entitle you to more than a redress payment. A lawyer can also advise you on whether you are likely to be eligible for the NRS.

Conclusion

Through the NRS, survivors of child sexual abuse may be entitled to counselling, a National Redress Payment and/or a direct response from the institution. Note, however, that there are strict eligibility requirements for accessing this scheme and that participation has significant legal consequences. In light of this, you should seek legal advice before applying to the NRS. Contact the team at AJB Stevens for more information on the National Redress Scheme.

 

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