Abuse redress scheme heads to parliament

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Source: AAP

Federal parliament will soon consider laws to put in place a redress scheme recommended by the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Laws to provide money, counselling and personal responses to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse will go to federal parliament in the spring sittings.

A national scheme with states, territories and non-government institutions able to join on a "'responsible entity pays" basis was a key recommendation of the royal commission.

Redress under the scheme will have three parts: a payment of up to $150,000, psychological counselling and a direct personal response and acknowledgement from the responsible institution.

The 2017/18 budget committed $33.4 million to set up the scheme and confirmed funding for support services.

A dedicated telephone helpline and website is expected to be operating in early 2018 to provide information to survivors and their families about the scheme.

The services will also connect survivors with legal and community support services.

From July 2018, applications for redress are expected to be open to survivors of abuse in Commonwealth institutions.

An expert panel will assess applications for payments based on advice from the independent advisory council which designed the scheme.

The royal commission estimated the full cost of redress payments at $4 billion over 10 years.

A meeting of federal, state and territory government ministers and institutional leaders in Melbourne in May was briefed on the scheme by federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

But there was no agreement on which governments or organisations would opt in to it and the Commonwealth has no power to force the states to sign up.

Mr Porter said at the time the process for applying for redress would be on a "low-evidentiary basis, on the basis of the reasonable likelihood that the events occurred".

Source AAP

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