National Redress Scheme to begin roll out from 1 July 2018

Content warning: this post discusses child sexual abuse

CREATE Foundation attended a Parliamentary Briefing on the implementation of the National Redress Scheme in Queensland earlier this week. The Australian Federal Parliament has passed legislation for the National Redress Scheme, and it will commence from 1 July 2018.

The National Redress Scheme was recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and will provide support to people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of institutions. You can learn more about the Royal Commission here.

Six major non-government institutions have committed to join the Scheme so far. The Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Salvation Army, YMCA, Scouts Australia and Uniting Church have all announced that they will join the Scheme and provide redress to people sexually abused as children in their care.

Each state will commence their own implementation of the scheme throughout 2018 (for example, Queensland will commence ‘later in 2018’ with no definite date as yet). Nevertheless, it gets underway from 1 July, meaning those affected can start to find out more about it from that date.

The Redress Scheme may provide three things:

  • Access to psychological counselling
  • A direct personal response – such as an apology from the responsible institution for people who want it
  • A monetary payment.

The scheme will run for the next 10 years and a person can choose to apply to the National Redress Scheme if they:

  • Experienced institutional child sexual abuse before 1 July 2018, and
  • Are aged over 18 or will turn 18 before 30 June 2028, and
  • Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and
  • Are applying for redress from an institution that has joined the National Redress Scheme, and
  • Apply between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2027.

There are some circumstances which will mean that an application is  assessed differently. These circumstances include:

  • Where the person is currently under the age of 18. According the information in the briefing CREATE attended, if you are under 18, but will be 18 or older in 10 years, you can still apply, but your application will be held until you turn 18 years of age.
  • Where the person has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to 5 or more years in gaol; or
  • Where a person is currently in gaol. According to information provided in the briefing CREATE attended, in both of these situations, your application may still be assessed on a ‘case by case’ basis. This means that the review panel will look at the circumstances and whether this has impacted on your life and is related to your offending.

There are a number of organisations that can support people who wish to apply to the Redress Scheme. You can find out more about these here.

There is going to be a great deal of information released about this process over the coming weeks and months. CREATE will continue to update this as the Scheme moves forward. In the meantime, you can view the Redress Scheme’s website here.