National redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse
Earlier this year the Catholic Church announced it would sign up for the National Redress Scheme and join other government departments in an effort to resolve the claims of many survivors of child sexual abuse.
The Social Services Minister Dan Tehan considered the Church’s announcement as “incredibly significant”. Subsequently the Anglican, Uniting Church, the Salvation Army, YMCA and Scouts have also agreed to join the scheme. The stage is set to resolve many claims of past tragedies.
The National Redress Scheme will offer monetary payments up to $150,000.00 and any past payments for the abuse will be taken into account. Further, counselling and psychological support is to be offered depending on where you live and further, if a claimant so desires a direct personal response will be obtained from the responsible institution.
The response from the churches who have joined the scheme has been along the lines that they have agreed to join on the basis that it would limit future trauma for survivors of abuse in obtaining redress. It has been commented that survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories.
It must be noted that to access the National Redress Scheme, it will be necessary for a claimant at the end of the process to sign a statutory release. By signing this release, the right to commence (or continue) any civil or common law proceedings against the responsible institution would be forfeited. It is extremely important that any survivors are aware of this fact, as it is quite possible in many instances that claims for compensation in the civil courts could result in a payment well in excess of the maximum under the National Redress Scheme.
The survivors of child sexual abuse need to be carefully and sensitively supported. Advice should be secured on the correct way forward. Here at Southside Legal Gold Coast we are in contact with other support organisations that are involved in the front line in providing assistance with respect to how to move forward with any claim and these groups and ourselves are available to discuss the options available.