Compensation Crawl for VIC Abuse Victims

6th March 2019  |  SBS News

 

Only a handful of Victorian Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Survivors have been compensated by a National Redress Scheme, the State Government says.

 

Just a handful of Victorian child sexual abuse victims have reached compensation agreements under a national redress scheme, according to the state government.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy has written to the federal Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher concerned about "significant delays" in the scheme and its lack of transparency.

"We have great hope in the power and possibility of the national redress scheme, unfortunately Victoria is disappointed with how the scheme has been operating to date," she told reporters at parliament.

"Last year we had only a third of our 66 applications the subject of offers being made to those victims and this year only two of approximately 34 applications have been processed."

Governments across Australia signed up to the national scheme last year to provide victims easier, quicker access to compensation.

Ms Hennessy said the federal government could increase resources to the scheme to speed up claims, because delays could be re-traumatising victims.

"Many people don't report that they were victims of child sex abuse for a long period of time and the scars of that emotional and physical trauma often play out in a range of ways," she said.

"So it's so critical that we provide people with quick access to justice and fair access to justice and I think the national redress scheme has a long way to go if we're going to meet that promise."

Mr Fletcher's office has been contacted for comment.

The minister has previously indicated that the failure of institutions to sign up to the scheme is the greatest constraint for payments being made.

The state government on Wednesday released its annual update on progress being made on recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Changes made by Victoria so far include strengthening mandatory reporting of abuse rules to out-of-home care workers, youth justice workers, early childhood workers and registered psychologists.

Ms Hennessy said the government was also still working on laws that would force priests to report cases of child abuse, including when heard during confession.

The laws, first flagged in September, aim to break the culture of secrecy, she added.

 

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