News National Institutional child abuse victims to get up to $150k compensation

Institutional child abuse victims to get up to $150k compensation

Child abuse compensation scheme
The Federal Government has announced a compensation scheme for those who suffered institutional child abuse.
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The Federal Government has announced a compensation scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

The Commonwealth will lead the program, while states, territories and institutions, including churches, will be able to opt in.

Victims will be able to access up to $150,000 each.

The cost for just the Commonwealth over the 10-year period was estimated to be between $570 million and $770 million.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter told reporters in Perth that the scheme would run for 10 years with an option to extend.

He said an advisory council would be established to help oversee its delivery.

“A fair simple and generous process for redress is the most significant thing that we can do for survivors of sexual abuse,” he said.

“The central thing that we are trying to avoid in all of this is to re-traumatise victims.”

He also said the scheme would be well publicised to ensure those who were eligible for funding did not miss out.

Mixed response from states, territories

Mr Porter said the Commonwealth could not compel states to join the scheme, and there had been a mixed response from the states and territories.

Christian Porter announces Goverment's child abuse compensation scheme
Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced the compensation scheme.

“In a perfect world it would be nice to announce the simultaneous opt-in of those jurisdictions here today,” Mr Porter said.

“We’ve been unable to do that.

“The view that we’ve now taken is that the way in which we will encourage that opt in is to be clear and transparent about the best practice nature of the scheme.”

He said in the case of the territories, the Commonwealth reserved the right to legislate to compel them to join if they did not opt in voluntarily.

In August last year, the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse released a report outlining 99 recommendations to deal with the ongoing care of victims.

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

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