National redress scheme gets early funds

State and territory attorneys-general will be briefed this month about the federal government's planned national redress scheme for child abuse victims.

The federal government has put up an initial $33.4 million for a national scheme to compensate child sexual abuse victims, prompting calls for the states to get on board.

The scheme will begin taking applications for redress from survivors of abuse in commonwealth institutions from July next year.

The national scheme relies on the states, churches and charities agreeing to opt into it and to fund redress for their own survivors.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Social Services Minister Christian Porter will brief state and territory attorneys-general later in May about the details of the scheme and hold a similar briefing for non-government organisations.

"We continue to encourage the states, territories and non-government institutions to maximise the impact of the scheme by opting-in on a 'responsible entity pays' basis, which will ensure the best possible redress scheme for survivors," they said.

The Catholic Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan said an Australian scheme would not work unless the state governments stepped up.

"This is time for the state premiers and the chief ministers to demonstrate that they can lead beyond politics and they can respond to the genuine need of victims," Mr Sullivan told AAP.

"The main game is that no matter where you were abused in Australia and no matter what institutions, everybody has to participate in the scheme so that victims get a chance to get redress."

The federal budget commits an initial $33.4 million in 2017/18 to meet the redress scheme's establishment costs and provide ongoing access to support services for survivors.

Funding beyond that has not been revealed, with the budget papers citing legal sensitivities.

A dedicated telephone helpline and website on the scheme will be available from March.

The government said legal and community support services currently provided through the child sex abuse royal commission, which wraps up in December, will continue to be funded to support the redress scheme.

The commonwealth scheme caps compensation payments at $150,000 and will provide psychological counselling, as well as a direct personal response from the institution involved, if requested.

2 min read
Published 9 May 2017 at 10:12pm
Source: AAP