States in talks for national sexual abuse compensation scheme
This morning federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter began the delicate process of convincing all the states, and other groups, to join the Commonwealth’s national redress scheme for survivors of institutional sexual abuse. You can read that story in the SMH here.
This development follows closely from last week’s federal budget where the Turnbull Government announced funding for the scheme which, it is hoped, will commence in 2018 but no firm start date has been set. The Commonwealth will make payments of financial redress up to a maximum of $150,000.00 to victims of child sexual abuse who suffered that abuse in a “Commonwealth Institutional Setting”.
The Commonwealth will also be the funder of last resort for financial redress for institutions that no longer exist such as for example Sister Kate or Roelands Mission in Western Australia. The Commonwealth has invited state governments to opt into the scheme but those states will have to provide the funding necessary to pay redress to victims abused in a state government institutional setting. State governments will also have to cede some constitutional powers to enable non-government institutions such as churches and charities to also opt in to the scheme.
While the introduction of the scheme is welcome, I have expressed my concerns and criticisms about the proposed scheme in a previous blog, which you can read here.
Nothing that has happened since has changed my point of view. There will be winners and losers under the National Scheme and that will become apparent as the parameters of the scheme unfold. There are still a lot of unknowns and if some states and non-government institutions opt into the scheme and some do not, there is risk that some victims will be disadvantaged.
TGB partner Mal Byrne specialises in sexual abuse compensation claims. For a discreet discussion about your matter, you can call Mal on (08) 8250 6668, send him an email or register online.