Government expands free support services for institutional sex abuse survivors

By Melissa Coade

July 7, 2022

Amanda Rishworth
Minister for social services Amanda Rishworth. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The government has announced more support for people accessing the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

More than $39.7 million in grant funding will go to boosting support services accessed from July 1 over two years to 2023-24. 

Expansion of the scheme’s support services will deliver free trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support for people with a disability, Indigenous Australians in remote areas, and those who were abused in smaller or lesser-known institutions. 

Services include free and confidential practical and emotional support to people before, during and after they apply for redress. Other community supports, such as legal and financial counselling, will also be made available. 

Social services minister Amanda Rishworth said support services for redress survivors was important to help the challenges and barriers victims faced.

“For many survivors, their redress application is the first time they’ve told anyone about what happened to them. Additional funding for support services will help them get through this difficult time and ease their journey,” the minister said in a statement. 

During the first three-and-a-half years of its operation, the redress scheme has been accessed by more than 15,000 people. 

Rishworth added this week’s announcement would improve the support available to more survivors within diverse communities. She said it was important for the government to choose service providers who could demonstrate they had delivered the best outcome for participants. 

“We are ensuring service providers better respond to the emerging needs of the scheme, and addressing the gaps to deliver better outcomes for survivors,” she said. 

A total of 28 existing service providers will continue their work under the new funding, with an additional 15 organisations to join them from 1 July 2022. Of the new services, the government has announced at least one new provider for each state and territory.

The minister said the Department of Social Services would work with unsuccessful providers to ensure clients were smoothly transitioned to new local support services.

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