The National Redress Scheme (NRS) was supposed to represent a positive step forward for victims of child sexual abuse.
Proposed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the National Redress Scheme was meant to be a well-deserved and long-awaited chance to receive counselling, support, and redress for the trauma experienced in childhood, all at the hands of Australia’s biggest institutions.
However, it has become increasingly obvious that there are cracks in the Scheme. There are legal issues and traps. It’s crucial to understand what you are doing before filling out a National Redress Scheme application form.
Here are just a few legal issues surrounding the National Redress Scheme:
Redress is a word often used in legal circles – however, many people are not clear on what it means. Redress is more than lump sum cash compensation. It includes cash, counselling, non-cash items, and medical and dental care. Redress makes a genuine attempt to mend the damage done to victims and this can go a long way to restoring normality and comfort in the life of an abuse victim. The Royal Commission recommended that financial redress be capped at $200,000 with a minimum payment of $10,000.
As of January 2021, the average payment is currently $83,376.
For a lifetime of trauma and distress, are these figures acceptable?
Who decided $10,000 would be enough for victims of abuse? Where did these numbers come from?
iii. The Royal Commission does not accept that payments should be assessed by the principles used by our courts, meaning victims will get much less and loss of income will not be taken into account.
The National Redress Scheme should have a cap of at least $500,000 and an average payout of between $150,000 and $300,000.
The Scheme should include victims of both sexual and physical abuse, and lawyers should be paid reasonable fees to act for victims.
Compensation should be assessed by ‘common law’ methods, as if it were going to court.
This is an expensive scheme for the Churches and States but they are the ones who created the needs of victims today. Many Churches will most likely have to sell off assets or appoint administrators, declaring bankruptcy like many Catholic Dioceses in the United States. The Churches and the States should pay the administrative costs of the Scheme.
In April 2020, the National Redress Scheme revealed 6,716 applications have been received.
Just 1,751 victims have received compensation.
The average payment received was $81,289.
Only 370 victims have been offered redress. The victims have six months to decide whether to accept the offer.
In July 2020, the Federal Opposition suggested it could take half a century for the estimated 60,000 survivors of institutional child abuse to receive redress.
Payments are also expected to decrease $610 million by mid-2021 due to a “slower than expected uptake by survivors’ for the write-down“.
The States and Territories are not united. Australia’s worst offending institutions aren’t either.
There is no obligation for anyone to join the Scheme.
The National Redress Scheme is broken. Before submitting an application, we strongly suggest you to get in touch with an experienced child abuse compensation lawyer. You could be owed more than you know.
At Kelso Lawyers, we’ve worked with countless victims of institutional abuse and achieved better outcomes for our clients than the National Redress Scheme could ever offer. We have an intimate understanding of your suffering – let’s work together to achieve a result to ease the burden these institutions and predators have had on your life.
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The National Redress Scheme is only available for victims of sexual abuse