The Government of South Australia has this week officially joined the National Redress Scheme, which provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse in both government and non-government institutions.
The Scheme was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia, including around 3800 South Australians.
From today, 1 February 2019, people who were abused in South Australian government institutions are eligible to apply for redress. People can apply up until 30 June 2027.
People who experienced institutional child sexual abuse that occurred in South Australian non-government institutions (such as church bodies, charities and community organisations) may also apply for redress.
The South Australian government’s participation recognises South Australians who have experienced child sexual abuse and provides a simpler and streamlined alternative to pursuing compensation through the courts.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said it would provide much-needed support to those people who experienced child sexual abuse.
“Nothing can undo the unspeakable abuse suffered by children, but today marks a line in the sand moment where we can hope to move forward, and give people the support, counselling and acknowledgement they need,” Ms Chapman said.
“Opting into this Scheme was a priority for the Marshall Liberal Government when coming into Government, and today marks a tremendous day in the acknowledgment of victims of institutional child sexual abuse.”
Redress is an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts and the Scheme can provide three things:
- access to counselling;
- a payment;
- a direct personal response from the institution (e.g. an apology) for people who want it.
From today the State Government’s Children in State Care scheme will also conclude, with applications now being received through the National Redress Scheme.
“As is the case with the start of any scheme of this size, there will be people and groups in the community who feel unsure about how to apply,” Ms Chapman said.
“To ensure everyone is guided through this process, free and confidential Redress Support Services are available throughout the process and can help explain the Scheme and who can apply.”
For more information, visit www.nationalredress.gov.au or call the National Redress Scheme line on 1800 737 377.