Child Sex Abuse Survivors put at risk by Redress Scheme delays, Victoria’s Attorney-General says

6th March 2019  |  Stephanie Anderson  |  ABC News

 

Only a fraction of Victorian sexual abuse survivors have been given access to the National Redress Scheme, according to figures from the Victorian Government.

In a letter to Federal Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher, Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy cited figures from the Victorian Department of Justice showing long delays in processing applications.

The National Redress Scheme was established in response to the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse, to offer compensation and counselling to victims.

Ms Hennessy said of 66 applications made for redress in 2018, only about a third have been offered access to the scheme.

In 2019, 34 applications from Victoria had been made with only two offered redress.

Ms Hennessy told the ABC the long delays in accessing the scheme would be harmful to survivors of abuse.

"Just one in three applications put forward by Victoria have been offered redress by the Morrison Government," she said.

"Survivors have lived for such a long period of time, often not disclosing their abuse, that when we finally have a system that seeks to acknowledge that then we've got to make sure that the system works, that it works quickly and that it doesn't re-traumatise people.

"We want the Morrison Government to focus on making sure that these applications are processed quickly and fairly."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Social Services Minister, Paul Fletcher, said the Government was constantly looking at ways to improve the scheme to make sure it met the needs of survivors.

The spokeswoman said applications were considered on a case-by-case basis, and the National Redress Scheme aimed to progress applications in the shortest time possible, prioritising cases where individuals were elderly or suffering from a terminal illness.

The issue of child sexual abuse has dominated headlines over the past week, with a suppression order lifted allowing reporting of Cardinal George Pell's conviction for child sex offences.

Pell is appealing against the conviction.

 

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