The Australian National Redress Scheme: What You Need to Know

Child sex abuse is a growing problem in Australian institutions. It is reportedly occurring in institutions like churches, religious organizations, orphanages, foster care, military bases, charities, and sports clubs.

In 2013, the Australian government established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Their function was to examine all the past child sexual abuse allegations directed toward these various institutions and organizations in Australia.

They interviewed thousands of adults who talked about the sexual abuse they incurred as children at these institutions. After a 5-year investigation into all the allegations, a compensation scheme was created for the victims by the Australian government.

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What is the National Redress Scheme?

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse made a recommendation to the Australian government that the National Redress Scheme be created for the victims.

They expect $4 billion will be needed to fund this compensation scheme which benefits at least 60,000 eligible Australian victims. This money will be coming from the institutions where the abuse took place.

However, the institutions must elect to participate in the scheme and voluntarily pay money into it.

The victims must apply for the redress scheme in order to qualify for its compensatory benefits. Some of which include an official apology, recognition for the abuse they experienced, institution accountability for their abuse, and a variety of psychological and counseling services.

And, of course, a monetary payment will be given to them as well. Applications to apply for the redress scheme are available on the internet and by paper. The deadline to apply is 2028.

The Apology

As the Royal Commission concluded its investigations into all the sexual abuse allegations, it prompted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to deliver a public apology to the nation from Parliament.

The apology was specifically addressed to the tens of thousands of people who were sexually abused as children.

Hundreds of victims made the trip to Canberra just to witness the apologetic speech. Morrison called the abuse to these people a “national tragedy which has finally been exposed.

On a more personal level, the National Redress Scheme connects victims with the institutions that were responsible for their abuse.

Representatives of these institutions deliver personal apologies to the victims. This doesn’t make up for what happened, but it does help give victims their long-awaited closure on the tragedy.

Application and Compensation

When a victim submits their application for the National Redress Scheme, they are basically signing away their right to directly sue the institution where their abuse took place.

The Royal Commission wanted the federal government to pay each victim approximately $200,000 in compensation. However, the Federal Government said their compensatory commitment will be an average $150,000 per victim.

Although, most of the surviving victims are expected to receive a monetary amount that is far less.

About $76,000 is expected per victim. Most victims will be lucky to get $50,000.

Reactions and Results

Thousands of surviving victims have problems with both the apology and the compensation. When Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a speech in Parliament where he publicly apologized to the victims, some of them were not happy with all his “sorrys”.

They feel like their government continues to do very little to protect children from predatory sexual abuse. Furthermore, they felt the monetary compensation was measured inappropriately.

For instance, victims of penetrative abuse received maximum payouts versus those who suffered non-penetrative abuse.

Many lawyers have suggested that the victims should sue these institutions directly instead of applying for the redress scheme. A lawsuit win could mean several hundreds of thousands of dollars or perhaps even one million dollars.

However, a lot of the victims are in their 70s and 80s. Many are very unwell. They simply do not have the time to wait. As a result, and sadly, they have elected to put their signature to the redress scheme application and take a faster but lower payment.