Organisations put on notice to join National Redress Scheme

Victorian organisations Who do not sign up to the National Redress Scheme – which provides redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse – will risk losing government funding, under tough new sanctions.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said, “My expectation is that Victorian institutions who have not yet signed up to the scheme do so immediately – refusing to sign up is just not acceptable.”

“It is deeply disappointing that institutions which have the capacity to join the scheme and have had ample time since being notified of their potential redress liability have not done so.”

“We know people are dying waiting for fair compensation for the horrific abuse and injustice they have faced – with these changes we are ensuring institutions are held accountable for failing in their moral duty to support and acknowledge their victims.”

Despite a 30 June 2020 deadline for institutions to join the scheme, 49 non-government organisations operating in Victoria are still yet to sign up to the scheme.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan said, “Enough is enough. This is about making sure that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse receive the recognition, respect and support they deserve.”

The government has warned organisations that a failure to take steps to join the scheme could jeopardise any state government funding they receive. Approximately half of the non-participating institutions operating in the state receive some form of state government funding.

These institutions include non-government schools, community, youth and family services, religious entities and sport and recreation entities. As at the end of January, 6,077 applications have been received by the scheme nationally and 1,367 applications have been finalised.

Under the Commonwealth legislation, joining the scheme is voluntary. Institutions can only join if they can fulfill their obligations under the legislation, including the financial capacity to pay redress.

Under the National Redress Scheme, eligible survivors of institutional child sexual abuse are able to seek a range of redress options including monetary payments of up to $150,000, access to counselling services, and a direct personal response—such as an apology—from the institutions responsible for the abuse.