News State Tasmania Sex abuse payouts to top $72m

Sex abuse payouts to top $72m

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Some Tasmanian schools, churches and charities will be required to pay $72 million to victims of sexual abuse under a proposed compensation scheme.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a consultation paper on redress and civil litigation.

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The commission estimates non-government institutions in Tasmania will be liable for up to $72 million to pay for counselling and psychological care, as well as direct payments to victims.

It said any future payments would be assessed in context of what has happened previously.

The Tasmanian Government has already paid almost $55 million to victims of abuse while in state care.

The report said the “Tasmanian Government scheme made 1,848 payments, with a minimum payment of $5,000, a maximum payment of $60,000 and an average payment of $30,000”.

Queensland and Western Australia have also payed out $96 million and $120 million respectively.

Compensation makes a difference to victims

The Sexual Assault Support Service’s Liz Little expected claims would be made against a broad range of organisations, including disability support providers, mental health services and parts of the justice system.

“The compensation is really about the fact that they need redress because they have lost opportunities because of the consequences in their mental health, their wellbeing, their relationships, their employment, throughout their life but it’s also because they will continue to need help and assistance for the rest of their life,” she said.

The report forecast much larger payments for other states.

Non-government institutions in Victoria are expected to face a bill of $835 million while groups in New South Wales would pay up to $1.03 billion.

The report said many survivors of institutionalised sexual abuse benefited from the payments “not just from the money itself, but also for it’s meaning to them”.

The royal commission’s interim report quoted a victim named Sharon:

In 2010, Sharon received $55,000 from the Tasmanian State Government Redress Scheme. She said the payment meant a great deal to her.

“They believed me, and I’d never been believed before. That was the first time.”

The commission’s proposal follows more than 20 public hearings, including an inquiry into Hobart’s Hutchins Schools’ handling of sexual abuse claims.

The Anglican school has offered an unreserved apology to all victims.