A national redress scheme for child sexual abuse survivors is a step closer with NSW and Victoria signing up to an agreement that offers practical services and compensation of up to $150,000. Source: The Age.
Malcolm Turnbull will reveal the agreement with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today, in an agreement that puts each state on the line for costs that will run to hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade.
The new pact intensifies pressure on churches and other groups to submit to the scheme and help victims recover from abuse that dates back decades, putting the primary responsibility on the institutions to fund the payments and support services.
The Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council chief Francis Sullivan has urged other states to sign up and noted that Catholic leaders are on the record saying they will join the national scheme.
But the fine print of the agreement is yet to be finalised and some victims appear certain to fall between the gaps, with nobody offering to pay for their help if the institution responsible for their abuse no longer exists.
Fairfax Media understands there is no agreement on a “funder of last resort” to pay for help when those responsible do not or cannot do so, with Canberra and the states in an “ongoing discussion” about the costs.
Those involved in the new agreement expect Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland to follow the two biggest states over time, while federal powers will also ensure the Northern Territory and the ACT are covered.
South Australia has its own redress policy and appears unlikely to submit to the federal program, although it could refer some powers to the commonwealth to help the smooth operation of the national scheme.
“Redress isn’t compensation. The process is about healing and moving forward while accepting the system failed every single person in Australia who suffered sexual abuse in an institution that was meant to protect them,” Mr Turnbull says in a joint statement with Mr Andrews and Ms Berejiklian.