About Us & The National Redress Scheme

In 2013, the Australian Government launched the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This was the direct result of allegations that child abuse in the Catholic Church was being covered up and paedophile priests were being moved around Australia and overseas. 

Church leaders were protecting their brand and ‘managing scandals’ rather than involving the police.

The Royal Commission heard thousands of horrendous stories of sexual abuse from survivors. Children were abused in more than 4,000 institutions across Australia. 41,770 calls were made and 25,774 emails and letters were received from children – now adults – who had been abused.

The final report was released in December 2017. 

At the recommendation of the Commission, the Australian Government launched the National Redress Scheme on 1st July 2018.

The original goal of the National Redress Scheme was to:

  • Acknowledge that thousands of children were sexually abused in Australian institutions like schools, orphanages and homes;

  • Hold institutions accountable for abuse;

  • Help people who have experienced child sexual abuse to access counselling, an apology and/or response from the offending institution, and receive redress payments.

Survivors of child sexual abuse all over Australia were pleased to know help and redress payments were coming soon. But things were not all what they seemed. For many survivors, the National Redress Scheme has brought false hope, frustration and disappointment.

The National Redress Scheme is all well and good in theory, but in practice, many survivors of child abuse have been robbed, re-traumatised and tossed aside in favour of the financial interests of the offending institution.

Survivors have been failed in a number of horrific ways:

  • The Scheme is voluntary for offending institutions. While state governments, the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Uniting Church, Salvation Army, PCYC and Scouts Australia have signed up to the Scheme, some institutions like Jehovah’s Witnesses have not. Survivors of child abuse within non-participating institutions will not receive anything from the National Redress Scheme. This is a sour taste for victims of abuse.

  • The Scheme will not help unless you were sexually abused. Survivors of serious physical and psychological abuse will not be offered any money by the National Redress Scheme. For this, you will need a specialist solicitor.

  • The Scheme may not help if you were abused by a foster parent while a ward of the state. Again, this is a complex area of the law and may require a specialist solicitor.

  • The Scheme has no appeal system. If you are offered compensation and you don’t accept it, you will not be given another opportunity to reapply. You have six months to accept the offer, or you will receive nothing from the Scheme. You have to take it or leave it. There’s no appeal, except to the High Court.

  • The Scheme has a “matrix” designed to low-ball survivors of abuse. Redress is capped at $150,000, but less than two out of ten applicants so far have been paid over $100,000. That’s far below the Commission’s recommendations and a slap in the face for most.

The National Redress Scheme is founded on greed and the Government’s willingness to put the Church, the institutions and the rich above the people.

As of March 2021, the Scheme:

  • Had received 10,005 applications.

  • Had made 6,135 decisions.

  • Had issued 6,030 outcomes.

  • Had finalised 5,266 applications, including 5,218 payments totalling approximately $439.5 million.

  • Had made 709 offers of redress, which are currently with applicants to consider.

  • Was processing 3,627 applications.

  • Had 765 applications on hold.

Only 15% of the estimated 65,000 survivors have applied for redress. 

The National Redress Scheme doesn’t like to advertise the average payout offered to survivors, either – the maximum allowed is $150,000 but from the results listed above, the average payout is currently $84,227.

The Scheme has been going for 2.5 years. These numbers are horrendous.

If you are considering applying to the National Redress Scheme, we urge you to speak to a solicitor first.

You only have one chance to get your application right with the Scheme. Getting it wrong will result in tears and frustration.

At Kelso Lawyers, it is our passion to help survivors of child abuse to achieve the best possible result from their compensation claim. Founded in 1986 by Peter Kelso – a survivor of foster care abuse himself – our team is experienced, compassionate and ready to help survivors and to educate those who thought the Scheme was their only option.

Get in touch with the expert team from Kelso Lawyers today and learn what your options are. There is no obligation.

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The National Redress Scheme is only available for victims of sexual abuse