News National Libs under pressure over sexual abuse compo

Libs under pressure over sexual abuse compo

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The new Turnbull Government is facing increased pressure to state whether it is in favour of a compensation scheme for victims of child sexual abuse.

State and territory Attorneys-General have written to their federal counterpart George Brandis, asking him to give “the earliest possible indication from the Commonwealth as to whether it intends to establish and fund a national redress scheme”.

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The Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction not to have signed the letter, due to the timing of its cabinet processes.

The royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse released a report last month outlining 99 recommendations to deal with the ongoing care of victims.

At its heart was a $4 billion national redress scheme, which would offer compensation, counselling and psychological care and a response from the institution if requested.

The commission proposes the redress would be funded by the institutions where the abuse occurred, or by governments if the abuse happened in a state-run facility and where a non-government institution no longer exits.

“The royal commission’s recommendations have identified a clear role for the Commonwealth, including that the Commonwealth announce its willingness to establish a national scheme by the end of 2015,” the letter said.

“The Commonwealth’s response will have significant ramifications for the states and territories.”

The state and territory Attorneys-General said the commission’s report made a number of welcome suggestions for reform.

“Aside from the establishment of a national redress scheme, the royal commission has also recommended Commonwealth involvement in a number of other areas, such as reforms to Medicare to enable better access to counselling for survivors of abuse,” the letter said.

“These reforms are critical to the success of the redress approach recommended by the royal commission, regardless of whether a national approach to redress eventuates.”