National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse


National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2018 (Cth)

This alert applies to all Commonwealth entities, State and Territory institutions and non-government institutions. The provisions from this Bill will likely be contained in a new module entitled NATIONAL – National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

Please be advised that the on 19 June 2018, the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2018 (Cth) (Bill) passed the Federal Parliament and is currently awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill will commence on either 1 July 2018 or a day yet to be proclaimed.

By way of overview, the Bill establishes a national redress scheme (scheme) to provide redress to survivors who experienced sexual abuse as a child at an institution that has chosen to opt-in to the scheme (a participating institution).

A participating institution is defined in section 108 of the Bill as a Commonwealth Institution, a participating State institution, a participating Territory institution and a participating non-government institution.

In short, a Commonwealth Institution includes a Commonwealth entity within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth), a wholly owned Commonwealth company, and a body established by or under a law of the Commonwealth. An institution is a participating State institution if it is a State institution and a declaration is in force that the institution is a participating institution. An institution is a participating Territory institution if it is a Territory institution and a declaration is in force that the institution is a participating institution. An institution is a participating non-government institution if the institution is or was a non-government institution and a declaration is in force that the institution is a participating institution.

It is expected that from 1 July 2018, the scheme will commence accepting applications from survivors of institutional child sexual abuse for which participating institutions who have opted in to the scheme are allegedly responsible. It is important to note that for an applicant to be eligible for redress, they must have suffered sexual abuse as a child before the scheme starts at a participating institution.

Applications for redress will be made to the scheme operator (Operator) being the Secretary of the Department of Social Services, who will investigate all claims for redress. Where the Operator considers there is a reasonable likelihood that the applicant is eligible for redress, the Operator is required to approve the application and make a number of other determinations, for example, determining which participating institutions are responsible for the abuse and therefore liable for providing redress to the person. The Operator is also required to make a determination about the amount of the redress payment that is payable to the applicant. Where the operator considers that the applicant is eligible for redress, the operator will make an offer of redress to the applicant which may include:

  • a redress payment of up to $150,000;
  • access to counselling or psychological services; and
  • a direct personal acknowledgement of the abuse from each participating institution held responsible for the abuse.

To receive the redress, the applicant must accept the operator’s offer, and in doing so, must release the responsible participating institution from any civil liability.

Participating organisations that have chosen to opt in to the Scheme should note that liability for any monetary payment will be allocated to the relevant participating institution held responsible for the abuse, and will be administered through a fund by the operator. Those participating institutions held responsible for the abuse are also liable to contribute to the costs of the administration of the scheme and are required to take reasonable steps to provide the abuse survivor with a direct personal response regarding the abuse.

Please click here to access the Bill.

Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au