Victoria flags funding cuts to organisations not signed up to National Redress Scheme

By Shannon Jenkins

April 20, 2020

Adobe

Victorian organisations that do not sign up to the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse could be refused funding, the state government has warned.

Roughly half of the 49 institutions that have failed to sign up in Victoria receive funding from the state government, including non-government schools, community, youth and family services, religious entities and sport and recreation entities. They have until June 30 to join, or else their funding may be cut, according to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.

There were 6077 applications received by the scheme nationally at the end of January, with 1367 applications finalised.

Hennessy noted that more than 500 applications have been put on hold because the institution named in the application has not signed up to the scheme, which she argued was “unacceptable”.

“It is deeply disappointing that institutions which have the capacity to join the scheme and have had ample time since being notified of their potential redress liability have not done so,” she said.

“We know people are dying waiting for fair compensation for the horrific abuse and injustice they have faced – with these changes we are ensuring institutions are held accountable for failing in their moral duty to support and acknowledge their victims.”

The scheme allows eligible survivors of institutional child sexual abuse to seek a range of redress options including payments of up to $150,000, access to counselling services, and a direct personal response from the institutions responsible for the abuse.

Started in July 2018, the scheme was a key recommendation of the royal commission into child sexual abuse in Australian institutions. It will run for 10 years.

Signing up is voluntary under the Commonwealth legislation, but organisations can only join if they’re able to fulfil obligations under the legislation, such as the financial capacity to pay redress.

Hennessy said she expected institutions that have not yet signed up to the scheme to do so immediately.

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