Victims of institutional child sexual abuse are one step closer to receiving compensation, after the Catholic Church announced it would sign up to the national redress scheme.
In a major step forward, the Church has confirmed it will enter the national scheme, despite its earlier misgivings, becoming the first non-government institution to opt in.
The church’s governing bodies, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia, released a statement saying they were keen to participate “to limit future trauma for survivors of abuse in obtaining redress from the Church”.
“We support the royal commission’s recommendation for a national redress scheme, administered by the Commonwealth, and we are keen to participate in it,” ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in the statement.
“Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories.”
All states and territories, except Western Australia, have signed up to the scheme, which would offer victims up to $150,000 in compensation.
The scheme is due to come into effect from July 1.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence from 2500 people who had been abused in Catholic-run institutions, and in its final report, said nearly 62 per cent of the victims were from Catholic-managed institutions.