Sexual Assault Redress Scheme has Limitations
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse shocked the nation over its five-year examination of the often horrifying prevalence of the sexual abuse of children in major public institutions. RMB Lawyers Compensation division considers the legal implications of one of the Royal Commission’s key recommendations:
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse handed down its recommendations last December after a five-year examination that exposed a shameful history of widespread abuse of children while they were under the care of prominent public institutions. Just last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologised to the victims in the national Parliament.
One of the Royal Commission’s key recommendations that has been adopted is the establishment of a national redress scheme under which survivors of sexual abuse can receive payment of up to $150,000 and access to counselling and psychological support (or a further payment of up to $5000 in lieu of this).
It is also possible that these victims may receive a direct response, such as an apology, from the institution involved.
Before applying to this redress scheme, it is extremely important that victims of sexual abuse obtain legal advice as to their options and alternatives.
For some survivors, the national redress scheme will be their only option, but for many others the legal system may provide access to alternative compensation at a higher level.
In its favour, the national redress scheme offers an informal, cheaper, simpler and quicker means of obtaining some justice for survivors - but there are drawbacks and limitations.
For example, not all institutions that were investigated by the Royal Commission are part of the scheme, and only those victims who have personally been sexually abused are eligible for the payment. So victims of physical or mental abuse do not have access to the scheme.
But perhaps most importantly, the amounts obtained under the scheme are likely to be less than a Court would award.
This is a deeply personal issue. Many survivors of child sexual abuse have understandably chosen or felt compelled to stay silent about their treatment.
At RMB Lawyers we will discuss and explain your options in a safe and empathetic environment. There is no obligation to proceed and our initial consultation is free, while we offer a “no win no pay” arrangement.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, we urge you to obtain expert legal advice as to your options. You can contact us. We'll be able to help you via a quick phone call, or ask us a question via email.