Commonwealth redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse

Joint Media Release with:

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
Attorney-General
Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Turnbull Government is today announcing a Commonwealth Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and is inviting states, territories and other non–government institutions to join in the Commonwealth scheme to deliver redress to the survivors of these wrongs.

“Today’s announcement is delivering on the Coalition’s commitment to strive to ensure redress is provided for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse across Australia by the responsible institutions,” Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said.

The Government acknowledges that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse were abandoned and betrayed by many institutions, including governments, churches and charities.

“We have spent many months consulting states, territories and institutions about how we can work together to deliver redress to ensure just outcomes for survivors”, the Attorney-General, George Brandis, said.

The Government will establish a best practice Commonwealth Redress Scheme and invite other governments and institutions to “opt-in” to the Commonwealth scheme on the “responsible entity pays” basis recommended by the Royal Commission.

The Government acknowledges that survivors across the country need and deserve equal access and treatment. That is why the Government is taking the lead and setting up a Commonwealth scheme to provide redress for survivors of child sexual abuse in Commonwealth institutions, and inviting states, territories and other non-government institutions to join.

While the Commonwealth is unable to force participation in a national scheme, the Government will be working closely with states, territories and other non-government institutions to work towards maximising national consistency. A truly national scheme requires the support of the states and territories.

“This is about institutions making amends and recognising the harm that has been caused to children in their care,” Minister Porter said.

The Commonwealth scheme is expected to be established by 2018 and will offer a direct personal response for those survivors who seek it, options to receive psychological counselling and a monetary payment (comprising a maximum payment of $150,000) to acknowledge the wrongdoing inflicted upon them.

The Government will also establish an independent advisory council bringing together a broad group of specialists, including survivor groups, legal and psychological experts, to provide advice on the implementation of the scheme.

Importantly, the Government is taking strong action to prevent child sexual abuse in the future, working with state and territory governments, law enforcement agencies, the community sector and researchers to keep children safe. In particular, though the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, and funding a range of early intervention and prevention services such as the Children and Parenting Support Program, Communities for Children, and the Intensive Family Support Service.

More information about how survivors can access assistance through the Royal Commission support services in every state and territory is available at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/support-services

Additionally, 24 hour telephone assistance is available through:

Lifeline 13 11 14 1800
Respect 1800 737 732
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia 1800 211 028
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978