National Redress Scheme Falls Short for Survivors

National Redress Scheme Falls Short for Survivors

By Loren Howarth

Key Points: 

  • Critics are dissatisfied with the National Redress Scheme 
  • Western Australia has not committed to the scheme 
  • The Catholic Church has joined 

Critics believe the $3.8 billion National Redress Scheme does not provide survivors of institutional sexual abuse with sufficient support nor does it enable effective justice.

The scheme, which was designed based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, gives survivors access to counselling, direct and personal responses from the institution, as well as monetary payment.

However, Dr. Vivian Waller who represents dozens of alleged victims, said the scheme has its shortfalls. She outlined a few of the disappointing factors to the ABC.

Dr. Waller further labelled the scheme as an avenue of last resort, considering the increased accessibility survivors of historical sexual abuse now have to legal services and compensation claims.

Compensation payments are capped at $150,000, but successful common law claims in the Victorian Supreme Court have been between $700,000 to $1 million. This concerned Dr. Waller, as survivors may miss out on due justice. 

Tony Wardley, who was sexually abused at a Catholic primary school, said he also believed the scheme would not justly benefit survivors in the long-term.

“They’re getting ripped off with the redress scheme…I hope they go the private litigation, because financially that’s the only way to hurt the church,” he said.

However, Social Services Minister, Dan Tehan, said survivors will see appropriate justice served in only a matter of time.

Every state and territory has signed up except for Western Australia, however state Attorney-General, John Quigley, said negotiations with the federal government may be completed within six to eight weeks.

Non-Government organisations join the scheme

The Catholic Church became the largest non-government organisation to join the national scheme, and has estimated it will be liable for around $1 billion in compensation.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the Catholic Church wants to participate.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia, the church’s governing bodies, wrote to the Government and said they wanted to “limit future trauma for survivors of abuse in obtaining redress from the Church.”

The Anglican Church of Australia, the Salvation Army, Scouts Australia, and the YMCA soon followed and committed to the scheme.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was grateful for the institutions participation, and said the national redress scheme is part of the healing and justice process for those who suffered sexual abuse in an institution which was meant to protect them.

Despite this positive, Leader of the Careleavers Australasian Network, Leoni Sheedy, said there will be a lack of justice for those who have passed away prior to the redress.

About author

earche04 72 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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