First states commit to Redress Scheme

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New South Wales and Victoria will be the first states to opt into the National Redress Scheme for people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of institutions.

The Redress Scheme will provide critical support to those who have suffered past wrongs, including abuse, community silence and institutional corruption that meant survivors weren’t listened to, believed or acknowledged.

Subject to the passage of legislation, the Redress Scheme will commence on 1 July. It will offer access to psychological counselling, a direct personal response from the institution where the abuse occurred and a monetary payment. Redress is a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Redress isn’t compensation. The process is about healing and moving forward while accepting the system failed every single person in Australia who suffered sexual abuse in an institution that was meant to protect them.

"We owe it to the survivors for their courage in telling stories they have been too afraid to speak of, often for decades," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

"Now that those stories have been told, now that they are on the record, we must do everything within our power to honour those stories and to act and to make sure that this national tragedy is never repeated.

"I urge all other state and territory governments to follow the lead of New South Wales and Victoria, and join the Redress Scheme."

Redress will acknowledge the hurt and the harm suffered and ensure that institutions take responsibility for the abuse that occurred on their watch, by their people.

We are working to deliver a national Redress Scheme that covers as many institutions and people as possible, with a focus on three key outcomes: justice, transparency and healing.

About 9,000 people who were abused in New South Wales Government institutions, 5,000 people who were abused in Victorian Government institutions and 1,000 people abused in institutions under the Commonwealth’s responsibility will now be covered as a result of today’s announcement.

Today's announcement also makes it possible for churches, charities and other non-government institutions in NSW and Victoria to join the scheme. If those non-government institutions opt-in, an estimated 11,000 people in NSW and 10,000 in Victoria will be able to access redress.

"NSW and Victoria will be the first states to opt into the scheme which is vital to acknowledging the suffering of survivors of abuse and supporting them on their journey to recovery," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

"It's unacceptable so many children were sexually abused in an environment where they were entitled to feel safe. Redress is an important part of recognising the lifelong impact of child abuse on survivors, many of whom carry the scars decades after the abuse occurred.

"New South Wales has driven the development of the national redress scheme hand in hand with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments to ensure survivors secure recognition and support with the least possible delay and fuss."

"We can never erase the terrible harm caused to so many innocent people, but a national redress scheme may finally give survivors of institutional child sexual abuse the acknowledgement and dignity they have long fought for and deserve," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"Victoria wants to ensure that survivors are respected, that their pain and suffering is recognised, and that they get the support they need.

"We acknowledge that the scheme does not contain every element that every survivor of abuse may wish to see in it, however this is a ground-breaking agreement which will benefit thousands of people."

If all states and institutions across Australia opt in, the scheme could provide redress to around 60,000 people estimated by the Royal Commission to have been abused in institutions.

Support services are available to assist people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. People can contact these support services provided as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Those who need immediate assistance can contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • 1800Respect on 1800 737 732
  • Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978