The National Redress Scheme is a new program that will provide recognition, financial support and counselling to survivors of historical child sexual abuse that occurred in institutions.
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.
The scheme will likely begin in South Australia in 2019, 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 federal government, which will manage the application and assessment process when it comes into effect in South Australia.
Payments will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the severity and impact of the abuse experienced.
The scheme aligns with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and is a nationally consistent approach to recognising and helping survivors.
The New South Wales, Victorian, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Tasmanian and Queensland governments have all joined the scheme.
More information about the scheme is available on the federal Department of Social Services website.
When will the scheme start?
It is anticipated that the scheme will begin in South Australia in 2019.
Each state and territory will launch the scheme at different times, taking time to properly plan and implement practical arrangements.
This includes introducing and passing state legislation, and engaging with service providers and stakeholders on implementing the national scheme at a local level.
Who can apply?
The federal government has outlined a number of rules about who can apply for the National Redress Scheme, including:
- the person must have experienced sexual abuse when they were under 18
- an institution must be responsible for the abuse, and that institution must have joined the redress scheme
- the applicant must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- the abuse must have happened before 1 July 2018, when national scheme begins (subject to legislation passing federal parliament).
What happens to ex-gratia payments?
The National Redress Scheme will replace the ex gratia payments that are currently 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.