The National Redress Scheme was instituted following the Royal Commission sexual abuse. The commission was ordered by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2013, and charged with investigating incidents and allegations regarding child sexual abuse, and the institutional response to these incidents and allegations. The scheme was decided on as the best possible way to manage allegations and provide a claims process for the victims of child sex abuse. Its purpose is to provide compensation to victims, even though no amount of money can erase the events or the trauma victims have carried with them.
Who is Eligible for the NRS?
If you were sexually abused as a child, then you are eligible to make a claim against the NRS. Assuming that sexual abuse falls within the scope of the NRS, which means – the abuse occurred in a participating state or territory and occurred before the NRS began. Additionally, you must be an Australian citizen or at least a permanent resident at the point of submitting your claim.
If one (or more) of the participating institutions are responsible for the situation. An institution is classed as being responsible for abuse if they were responsible for the custody or regular care of the person, the institution was the legal guardian or was responsible for the placement where the abuse occurred. They are also responsible if the abuser was an employee or official within the institution or if the abuse took place on the premises or where the institution held activities.
Forms of Redress Available
Redress can take many forms.
First and foremost, if your application is successful, you may receive a National Redress Scheme payment of up to $150,000. However, the scheme may also provide psychological support or counselling for childhood trauma in adults. If they do not live in an area where these services are available in association with the scheme, they may instead receive a payment of up to $5,000 to seek that support outside of the scheme.
Additionally, a successful claim will ensure you provide a direct response from the institutions determined to be responsible for the abuse.
This isn’t an either-or situation, you can take advantage of every form of redress if you are successful in your claim.
Responsibilities of Institutions
The NRS may find one or more institutions primarily or equally responsible for the abuse.
If the institution is primarily or solely responsible for the contact between the abuser and the victim, then that institution may bear more responsibility than another. If a particular institution is determined as primarily responsible, they are committed to directly responding to the claimant and for 100% of the redress payment.
If institutions are deemed equally responsible, then neither is considered to be primarily responsible for the abuse which took place. However, it means that they share responsibility, which means they both need to provide responses to the victim and they will pay an equal share of the redress payment.
There is a searchable list where you can check if the institution responsible for your abuse has signed up to participate. The vast majority of named institutions have already signed up or made plans to do so. There are some institutions that have refused to participate or those that are now defunct. If this is one of the institutions responsible for your abuse, speak to your lawyer about what options are available to you to pursue a case against them.
Why You Should Seek Legal Help First
There are a variety of legal paths you can pursue to receive the justice you deserve – and it’s possible to apply for an NRS claim even if you have taken steps to receive justice previously. The operator who reviews your case can take prior compensation into consideration and adjust your payment accordingly.
Whether you have already made legal moves or you are thinking about filing a claim, you should always sit down and speak with an experienced lawyer first. If you have already filed your claim with the NRS, you should consult with a lawyer before you accept the payment. Once you accept the offer, you cannot appeal the amount.
If you are in prison, you may be able to apply for the scheme if there are extenuating circumstances, you should speak to a lawyer about your options.
How AJB Stevens Can Help
If you believe you are eligible to make sexual abuse claims with the National Redress Scheme, you need a lawyer for a child abuse case. As experts in child abuse laws in Sydney, we can provide you with the guidance you need to take the right steps to receive compensation. If you choose to pursue National Redress Scheme payments then you cannot pursue the abusers in civil litigation. There is a cap on NRS payments, so a lawyer can provide you with advice as to which path would be more beneficial in your circumstances.