Published date: Wednesday 2 May 2018
The NSW Government has become the first state in Australia to introduce a Bill paving the way for it to join the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said it was an important milestone for survivors. NSW and Victoria were the first states to commit to the redress scheme.
“No amount of money can undo the devastation caused by abuse, but we can show survivors we believe them and accept they were let down and betrayed by the system that should have kept them safe,” Mr Speakman said.
In another significant step, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) laying out arrangements by which the National Redress Scheme will be governed. This outlines the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, states and territories.
The redress scheme, to begin on 1 July 2018, includes a payment of up to $150,000 in recognition of a survivor’s hurt and injury. In NSW the scheme will provide access to counselling and psychological support. Survivors will also receive a direct personal response from the institution in which the abuse occurred.
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse opened our eyes to the prevalence of institutional child sexual abuse, the failure of institutions to respond and the lifelong impact of such abuse,” Mr Speakman said.
The NSW Government has accepted the overwhelming majority of the recommendations in the Royal Commission’s Criminal Justice Report. NSW will formally respond to all of the Royal Commission’s recommendations in June.
NSW has removed limitation periods for survivors to launch civil compensation claims and improved the Model Litigation Policy, providing a more compassionate approach to the management of civil child abuse claims. It is also the first state to introduce trained witness intermediaries to support child victims and witnesses of sexual abuse during criminal proceedings.