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National Redress Scheme Payouts: What to Know About Payout Delays

As the country continues to come to terms with the child sexual abuse crisis, it’s important that all victims are heard and accounted for. Unfortunately, since its launch in 2018, the number of sex abuse victims that have received compensation from Australia’s National Redress Scheme is significantly below the original estimations. As a result, victims are being advised to seek legal help before entering themselves into the scheme in a bid to avoid lengthy delays and inadequate compensation.

About the National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme was created at the recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The scheme is designed to recognize the prevalence of child sexual abuse — especially in institutional settings like schools, churches and hospitals — and offer victims of child sexual abuse an avenue for financial compensation.

The scheme depends on institutions that may have a history of child sexual abuse agreeing to participate. By joining, institutions pledge to offer compensation to approved victims but are then shielded from separate civil litigation for that case. That means victims need to think carefully about their options, as a civil case could result in a larger payment.

How do I apply for a redress scheme?

If you elect to pursue justice through the National Redress Scheme, you must begin by filling out an application. Applications are available online and in printed form. To be eligible, victims must detail the abuse that occurred, the institution responsible and how the abuse has impacted the victim’s life. Victims must also be able to confirm their identity, including by signing a form in front of a witness. It’s important to note that victims only have until 30 June 2027 to apply for redress.

Once an application is submitted, a team will review its contents and send an offer letter if it’s approved. Once a person has received their letter, they have six months to accept or decline an offer, except in situations where a victim is very ill or lives in a community with irregular mail service. Unfortunately, this review and approval stage can take months, even years, to complete — far longer than many victims expect.

Victims who do not agree with the outcome of their application — whether because they were not approved or the amount offered is too small — can apply for a review. For this process, an Independent Decision Maker will look over the details provided in the original application. No new information can be added to the application in the review stage.

In addition to a redress payment, child sexual abuse victims can utilize the scheme to apply for counselling services or a direct apology from an institution.

Why are delays occurring?

While the National Redress Scheme was set up with the best intentions, it has so far fallen short for many victims. The key reasons have been mismanagement and lack of buy-in from institutions. While many institutions have already agreed to join the Scheme — including the Commonwealth, all state and territory governments, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the YMCA — many others have not. Victims of abuse in these institutions must exclusively pursue redress through civil litigation.

The National Redress Scheme can also pose a challenge for many victims dealing with the psychological fallout of abuse. The process of recounting past trauma and the possibility that claims will be rejected is simply too hard for some, according to ABC News.

Getting the representation you need

Ultimately, whether you or your loved one is looking for a financial reprieve through the National Redress Scheme or a separate claim, working with a qualified solicitor can go a long way toward getting you the outcome you deserve.

For help getting justice contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners. We have a dedicated client care service team to ensure that you are kept up-to-date at all stages and you receive our promise of triple “C” service: compassion, commitment and competence from all our staff.

For free over-the-phone advice or to take advantage of our free face-to-face consultation call our expert legal team today on 1800 004 878.

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