More organisations agree to sign on to child abuse redress scheme
The federal government will announce a broadening of the national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, after a string of organisations - including Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Church bodies - finally agreed to sign up.
Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will announce on Tuesday that more than 300 sites - including churches, schools and community groups - have been added to the scheme, which offers compensation payments capped at $150,000 and counselling.
"The Morrison Government acknowledges the enduring pain of survivors and their families who are waiting for a resolution and we recognise that the lack of certainty about when an institution will be participating in the scheme can be frustrating," Senator Ruston said.
"It is completely unacceptable for any institution where child sexual abuse has occurred to shirk their responsibilities. I have made it clear I expect all relevant institutions to join the scheme as quickly as possible so that survivors can access redress."
Survivors had complained that the fact hundreds of organisations had declined to participate meant the scheme, established in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, was failing them.
The additional organisations to sign up include the Passionist Fathers and Carmelite Fathers, both named at the Royal Commission, along with Legacy Australia, Parkerville Children and Youth Care and Ballarat and Queen's Anglican Grammar School.
The federal government has so far chosen not to strip charity status from non-participants in the scheme, as recommended by a parliamentary committee in April.
All state and federal governments are participants in the scheme, along with 61 non-government organisations covering more than 41,200 sites such as churches, schools, homes, charities and community groups.
The royal commission estimated more than 60,000 abuse survivors came forward.
In 2018-19, the first year of the scheme, it made 238 payments to the value of $19.8 million, with a further 71 applicants considering an offer of redress.
A further 356 applicants received payments totalling about $28.2 million between July 1 and September 20, with 111 applicants considering an offer of redress.