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.
In addition, the process to apply for redress will be complicated and triggering for many survivors of abuse. The claim form which can be found here https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/document/76 is 44 pages long and there appears to be little publicly available information as to how claims will be assessed and processed other than as set out in the legislation which continues to have significant gaps as to the detail of the scheme.
The Knowmore Legal Service has been funded to assist claimants without charge in lodging claims. More details about the NRS can be found at https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/programs-services/children/redress-scheme-for-people-who-have-experienced-institutional-child-sexual-abuse/national-redress-scheme-frequently-asked-questions and the NRS can be contacted on 1800 146 713. The Knowmore Legal Service can be contacted on 1800 605 762 or at http://knowmore.org.au/contact_us/.
Importantly, all survivors who have suffered abuse in an institutional setting should seek legal advice from an expert in institutional abuse before deciding to make a redress claim. Even where a survivor has had a prior settlement or has previously sought advice, the law in this area and options for recovering compensation have been changing dramatically over the last few years and a claim which was previously not viable in a court of law may now be possible due to these changes.