The National Redress Scheme provides support to children and families who have experienced and been affected by institutional child sexual abuse.
Established 1 July 2018, the program helps anyone who has faced the wrath of sexual child abuse in institutions like schools, churches and daycares. The scheme supports every survivor, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Despite the scheme being lauded for its actions, it is also being wrought with complaints. Some of the complaints have already been addressed, and others still lingering. The following are some of the most common complaints:
Slow Response Time
The Royal Commission recommended the Redress Scheme into institutions as a key to quick response to sexual child abuse in these institutions.
However, almost two-thirds of institutions have not yet signed up for the scheme. Even worse, four states in Australia are not participating in the scheme.
Victims of institutions that have not yet joined the scheme cannot get compensation for the abuse. They are forced to wait until the institution joins the scheme. It gets ugly, especially when terminally-ill survivors face this kind of slow response.
There are numerous cases of Australians who were sexually abused as children almost a decade ago and never got any justice. These victims have never received any financial or emotional support and are still waiting for the Redress Scheme to intervene.
The situation is even worse for the survivors who have been jailed for 5 years or longer. They have to go through a special assessment.
The rule is hardly fair to victims who have been convicted since they all consider themselves as equal victims. Plus, their very incarceration and criminal behaviour are often attributed to childhood trauma.
Many Australians are concerned that the Redress Scheme plans to pay survivors based on the severity of the abuse: “the less the abuse, the less the impact.” Many find this rule determines inadequate compensation since something considered minor abuse could cause a significant impact on a person’s life.
The National Redress Scheme supports institutional sex abuse survivors based on the severity of the abuse. This exposes the victims to the risk of being re-traumatised by recounting the worst parts of whatever abuse they suffered.
Concerns also have been raised about the Redress Scheme compensating abuse survivors with a lump sum of money. These victims are traumatised by what happened to them and therefore need counselling and therapy more than money.
The scheme’s designers argue that with the money provided, victims can afford the services if they wish to receive them. However, appropriate services are not available in all regions.
It has been difficult for survivors to retell the stories of how they were abused and the impacts it had on their lives. However, the government has promised to change the application so victims can decide what information to share about the institutions where they were abused.
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