Australia

Rally calls for changes to redress scheme

Protesters in Melbourne called for changes to the redress scheme for child sex abuse victims. (AAP)

A man abused by a Christian brother has called on the federal government to change the national redress scheme while at a rally in Melbourne.

A man who was sexually abused as a child has stood on the steps of parliament to call for an overhaul to the national redress scheme.

Stephen Bisinella, 54, was eight years old when his school teacher started to abuse him, and didn't stop for about six years and almost 500 incidents.

"Like other survivors, every area of my life has been impacted. My marriage, my family, my education. There has been unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harming and suicide attempts," Mr Bisinella told the rally.

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Catholic Church will 'spare no effort' to bring justice, Pope Francis says
Catholic Church will 'spare no effort' to bring justice, Pope Francis says

Although I have survived, I have been worn into a hollow shell."

Although Mr Bisinella has previously signed a deal where he pocketed about $69,000, he says the national redress scheme cap of $150,000 is a "slap in the face to any survivor".

He was among 100 people gathered on the steps of Victorian parliament on Sunday chanting "make them pay", and calling for an overhaul to the $3.8 billion redress scheme.

Lawyer and victims' advocate Judy Courtin, who organised the rally, said the scheme was "appalling" and it re-traumatised victims.

She said all recommendations of the royal commission into child sexual abuse in Australian institutions should be implemented, and the cap on redress payments increased to $400,000.

Chrissie Foster, a mother of two girls abused by a Catholic priest, told AAP at the rally the Catholic Church and the government had "changed the royal commission recommendations to save themselves money and screw the victims".

About 60,000 survivors of child sexual abuse in Australian institutions are eligible under the scheme that began last July, but few are expected to get the maximum figure.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten told reporters on Sunday he was open to improving the scheme, if elected.

The federal government on Friday called on institutions where abuse has occurred to join the scheme.

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