Institutional News

National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme (NRS) has commenced although it is not really a national scheme as yet because the only states which have passed legislation to refer powers to the Commonwealth to allow participation in the scheme are Victoria and New South Wales. There are also a number of very significant church and other bodies which have not “opted in” including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons and many other religious and non religious organisations.

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Care leavers’ “criminal records” to be corrected

On 25 July 2018, the Government introduced a bill to Parliament acknowledging that in the past, children who were made Wards of the State were charged with being in need of protection and that these charges appeared on a child’s criminal record. This meant that a child could have a criminal record for charges such as ‘being in moral danger,’ or ‘being exposed,’ – effectively being criminalised for being vulnerable. This is because the Victorian child welfare system and the criminal justice system for dealing with young offenders were not clearly differentiated, so protection orders were recorded on criminal histories. It was only in 1992 that the two systems were completely separated.

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Defence Reparation Scheme

Angela Sdrinis Legal acts for a number of defence force personnel who suffered historical sexual and/or physical abuse in the armed forces. Many of those who suffered abuse as minors (Army Apprentices and Cadets) have viable common law claims for damages because of the abolition of limitation periods.

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Is the Catholic Church Above the Law?

The Tasmanian government is to be commended for following the lead of South Australia and the ACT in tabling legislation allowing for harsh penalties for priests who fail to report suspected child abuse including disclosures that are made in the confessional.

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Compensation Scheme for Victims of Sexual Harassment and Predatory Behaviour within the Police Force

Catholic clergy commit six times as much abuse as all other churches combined and he said that this was a conservative estimate.

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