The Victorian Government has joined the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. The Commonwealth Government will run the Scheme.
Participation in the Scheme is an important part of ensuring that people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse receive the recognition, respect and support they deserve.
The Scheme started on 1 July 2018, and will run for 10 years.
What the Scheme can provide
The Scheme can provide:
- a monetary payment
- access to psychological counselling
- a direct personal response – such as an apology from the responsible institution (or institutions) for people who choose this.
Applicants will be able to choose whether to request one, two or all three components of redress. Applications for payment will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the severity and impact of the abuse experienced.
Trained Independent Decision Makers will consider applications for redress. The decision makers will be independent from both the Victorian Government and Scheme officials.
Independent Decision Makers will have guidelines to help them determine when a person is eligible under the Scheme and to ensure outcomes of applications for redress are as consistent as possible.
Who can apply
An application can be made under the Scheme if:
- a person has experienced child sexual abuse while in the care of an institution or organisation (the Scheme does not cover non-institutional abuse, such as by a family member)
- the abuse happened when the person was aged under 18
- the abuse happened before 1 July 2018
- the institution or organisation responsible for the abuse has joined the Scheme, and
- the person applying is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
A person who has accessed redress under another Scheme or received compensation through a settlement may still apply for redress under the Scheme. However, any prior payments made by a participating institution in relation to abuse within the scope of the Scheme will be deducted from the amount payable by that institution.
A person can apply for redress if they have a criminal conviction. However, if a person has been sentenced to five or more years imprisonment for an offence their application will go through a special assessment process. The assessment will take into account:
- views of relevant attorneys-general
- the details of the offending
- length of sentence
- time passed since offending and rehabilitation outcomes.
A person who is in prison at the time of making an application may need to demonstrate there are exceptional circumstances justifying the application while they are in prison.
More information about redress and the Scheme is available via the National Redress Scheme Information Line on 1800 737 377 and Scheme website .
How information will be collected and shared
Applicants to the Scheme will be required to provide their personal information to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services as the Scheme Operator, for the purposes of assessing their application. This can include:
- personally identifying information (name and date of birth)
- information that addresses the eligibility criteria
- the name of the institution and details of alleged abuser, if known
- details of the abuse
- any relevant supporting material submitted by the applicant with their application
- a statutory declaration confirming the above.
Where a Victorian Government institution may be responsible for abuse, the information will be provided to the Victorian Government. This information will be used by the Victorian Government for the purposes of providing information to the Scheme about the abuse, to assist the Scheme Operator to determine an applicant’s redress application. The information may be provided to the relevant Victorian Government department or Victorian Government entity for response.
The Victorian Government may also provide information about the abuse to the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal in order for it to check records about any relevant prior payments made to an applicant.
Information may also be shared with Victoria Police or internal review processes in circumstances where a risk to the safety and wellbeing of a child has been identified through the application process.
Security of Information
The use of information is protected under legislation, and can only be used for the purposes of the Scheme. Severe penalties apply, including imprisonment, for unauthorised disclosure of protected information.
All information will be stored securely and handled in accordance with the department’s requirements under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Health Records Act 2001. Applications are exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
For further information about the handling of personal information please contact:
Information and Privacy Unit
Department of Justice and Community Safety
GPO Box 4356
Melbourne VIC 3001
Tel: 03 8684 0178
Free legal advice and information about redress is available through knowmore.
Call 1800 605 762 or visit the knowmore website
Free and confidential Redress Support Services are available to help people apply to the Scheme. These services can support people before, during and after applying for redress.
A list of the services available in Victoria are available on the National Redress Scheme website
Further support for people who have experienced past abuse, violence or childhood trauma is available from:
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)
VACCA is a state-wide Aboriginal community controlled organisation advocating for the rights of Aboriginal children, young people and families, and providing them with services premised on human rights, self-determination, cultural respect and safety.
- healing and culturally appropriate support for Indigenous Australians.
Call 9459 7030 or visit the VACCA website
Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN)
CLAN supports former state wards or individuals who grew up in children’s homes or foster care in Australia and New Zealand. It provides:
- face to face counselling
- case management and support
- advocacy services to enable pre-1990- care leavers to access universal health and welfare services.
Call 1800 008 774 or visit the CLAN website
Open place is a support and advocacy service that provides assistance to people who grew up in Victorian orphanages and homes during the last century. Services include:
- personal support
- support in accessing specialist services
- financial assistance
- individual advocacy.
Call 1800 779 379 or visit the Open Place website
Find and Connect Support Services
This service can assist with:
- personalised support and counselling
- obtaining personal records and individual histories of institutional care
- connecting with other services and support networks
- reconnecting with family where possible.
Call 1800 16 11 09 (free call) from Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm in all states and territories, or visit the Find and Connect website
Lifeline is a 24 hour confidential telephone crisis support – 13 11 14 or visit the website
Report to Victoria Police
To report a sexual offence, contact your local police station to be connected with a Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation team.
Remember, in an emergency dial triple zero (000).