The Victorian Government has joined the National Redress Scheme (External link) (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:

  1. a monetary payment
  2. access to psychological counselling
  3. 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 146 713 and Scheme website (External link).

Legal advice

Free legal advice and information about redress is available through knowmore.

Call 1800 605 762 or visit the knowmore website (External link)

Support services

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 (External link)

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.

Services include:

  • counselling
  • healing and culturally appropriate support for Indigenous Australians.

Call 9459 7030 or visit the VACCA website (External link)

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 (External link)

Open Place

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 (External link)

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 (External link)

Lifeline

Lifeline is a 24 hour confidential telephone crisis support – 13 11 14 or visit the website (External link)

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).