It is anticipated that the Commonwealth Redress Scheme will start on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years until 30 June 2027.
The Scheme will provide support to people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of an institution. An institution is any place that was run by the Commonwealth (which includes places such as the Australian Defence Forces and cadet schools and onshore immigration detention) but will also extend to places run by state governments, churches, charities and other non-government organisations, if those institutions opt in to the Scheme.
At this stage we are still waiting to see if the State of Queensland will join the Scheme, and to see a final list of non-government Queensland organisations. Stay posted to see which organisations opt in.
Subject to the passage of legislation, people can lodge applications from 1 July 2018.
The Redress Scheme can provide three things to victims of child sexual abuse:
- access to psychological counselling;
- a direct personal response – such as an apology from the responsible institution for people who want it; and/or
- a monetary payment.
Payments will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the severity and impact of the abuse experienced with a maximum of $150,000 and we are yet to see a final framework on how that assessment will occur.
The Redress Scheme is an alternative to getting compensation through the courts – you can do one or the other, but not both.
Access to the Redress Scheme depends on:
- the type of abuse a person experienced
- It must include sexual abuse.
- An institution must be responsible for the abuse. The Scheme does not cover non-institutional abuse, such as by a family member.
- where and when it happened
- The abuse must have happened when the person was aged under 18.
- It must have happened before 1 July 2018, when the Scheme starts.
- The institution or organisation responsible for the abuse must have joined the Redress Scheme. So far, only the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments have agreed to join the scheme.
- a person’s life now.
- The person applying must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.