The National Redress Scheme provides recognition, a monetary payment and support to access counselling to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
The scheme was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia.
The Government of South Australia has announced its intention to participate in the national scheme by providing redress to people who were abused in places run by the state government, such as state operated schools and out-of-home care.
How to apply
You can apply to the national scheme from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2027 (10 years).
However, applications will not be processed until the relevant state and territory passes referral legislation and establishes administrative processes and infrastructure to implement the scheme at a local level.
State government institutions will likely be able to provide redress in early 2019:
What does the scheme offer?
The National Redress Scheme is an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts, and can provide three things:
- a direct personal response – such as an apology from the responsible institution for people who want it
- a monetary payment
- support to access psychological counselling.
The scheme was created by the Australian government, which will manage the application and assessment process.
What happens to ex-gratia payments?
The National Redress Scheme will ultimately replace the current ex gratia payments that are available to residents formerly in state care who experienced sexual abuse.
However, ex gratia payments will continue to operate while implementation details are being finalised in South Australia.
What if an institution no longer exists?
There may be instances where someone has experienced child sexual abuse in relation to a South Australian institution that no longer exists.
Some of these institutions may be linked to a larger organisation, such as a church or national body. If the larger organisation has joined the scheme, it can assume responsibility for the institution that no longer exists. An example might be where an existing religious institution chooses to provide redress on behalf of an institution that was once part of their religious order, but no longer exists today.
In cases where a government and a non-government institution were both responsible for the abuse, and that non-government institution no longer exists, the Government of South Australia has committed to providing redress. An example might be where the state government placed a child in a care arrangement run by a non-government institution. If that non-government institution no longer exists, the state government can provide the full amount of redress to that person.
Under the rules of the national scheme, the government cannot choose to provide redress on behalf of an institution that no longer exists where it did not also have responsibility for the abuse.