The National Redress SchemeKayla Lance
The National Redress Scheme: Waiving your Common Law Rights
The Government’s National Redress Scheme was implemented on 1 July 2018 following the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Scheme is an alternative to a civil claim for child sexual abuse (exercising your common law rights). However, the amount of compensation available to a victim under the Scheme is significantly less than what the victim may otherwise be entitled to.
It is important to know your common law rights prior to applying for the National Redress Scheme. In particular, a victim of child sexual abuse is precluded from bringing a civil claim if he or she has received redress under the Scheme.
Through the Redress Scheme, a victim of child sexual abuse in Australia can receive the following:
- A redress payment up to $150,000;
- A direct personal response from the institutions responsible for the abuse; and
- Access to counselling.
Specifically, the Redress is only available to victims when the institutions at fault have joined the National Redress Scheme. These are called the “Participating Institutions”.
As a result, in order to be eligible for redress you need to have:
- Experienced sexual abuse when you were a child;
- The sexual abuse occurred before the commencement of the Scheme on 1 July 2018; and
- An institution was responsible for bringing you into contact with the perpetrator and that institution is a Participating Institution.
What you Need to Know: The Pitfalls of the Scheme
1. The Amount of the Redress Payment
Under the Scheme, the average amount of compensation available is $76,000. In fact, a lot of victims would receive less than this. This is “redress” for, in some cases, lifelong suffering.
Also, since the Scheme has come into effect, less than 50 victims have received redress. Furthermore this only adds further insult to victims.
By way of comparison, on 5 October 2018, the Supreme Court of New South Wales entered Judgement in favour of a client of Koffels Solicitors and Barristers, who was the victim of child sexual abuse in the amount of $1,548,488.75 plus costs.
The Judgment was adopted from the findings of former Judge of the District Court of New South Wales and Justice of the ACT Supreme Court, Ms Margaret Sidis. Ms Sidis was appointed through the Court’s referral process (20.14 to 20.24 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005) as a Referee to assess the quantum of damages of the Plaintiff’s claim.
The Referee assessed the Plaintiff’s claim as follows:
|Non-Economic Loss (assessed at 50% of a Most Extreme Case) which includes:
(a) pain and suffering,
|Past Economic Loss||$474,462|
|Past Superannuation Loss||$52,191|
|Interest on Past Economic Loss||$189,595|
|Future Income Loss||$405,420|
|Future Superannuation Loss||$50,427|
|Past Medical Expenses||$10,988.75|
|Future Medical Expenses||$58,905|
If the Plaintiff had applied for the National Redress Scheme, he would’ve received a scarce portion of what he was entitled to by exercising his common law rights.
You will see that the Plaintiff (as illustrated above) received in excess of $70,000 for past and future medical treatment.
Under the Scheme, a victim is only awarded $5,000 for counselling and therapy. The impairment caused by psychiatric injury as a result of child sexual abuse is significant and the awarded sum is inadequate.
3. Other Factors
The scheme does not assess physical abuse in considering other factors. However, serious physical or emotional abuse may be assessed in a civil claim. In fact, in the example above, the Referee determined that the Plaintiff’s physical abuse was connected to the sexual abuse. She considered this when assessing the Plaintiff’s entitlement to non-economic loss ($306,500).
4. How is the Entitlement is Assessed?
Under Section 104 of the National Redress Scheme for Victims of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018, it is an offence to disclose the assessment guidelines. This is not a fair way of assessing monetary entitlement for victims. Therefore there ought to be open disclosure and transparency in the assessment process.
Before you consider applying for the Government’s National Redress Scheme, it is important that you know your common law rights. A civil action may provide you with the compensation that you truly deserve and are entitled to.
Koffels Solicitors & Barristers are proud of the work we do and the ground breaking results we obtain for our clients. If you are a victim of institutional child sexual abuse, we believe we can give you the support and advice on obtaining proper compensation for which victims are truly entitled.
It is with the strictest confidence that we consider your enquiries.
List of Participating Institutions for the National Redress Scheme (NSW only)
- Commonwealth government institutions
- New South Wales state government institutions
- Anglican Church:
- Anglicare Sydney
- Anglicare North Coast
- Sydney Anglican Home Mission Society Council
- The Committee of Church of England Homes
- The William Branwhite Clarke College Council
- Catholic Church (Dioceses and Archdioceses):
- Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn
- Archdiocese of Sydney
- Chaldean Eparchy of St Thomas
- The Diocese of Armidale
- Diocese of Bathurst
- Diocese of Broken Bay
- The Diocese of Lismore
- Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
- Diocese of Parramatta
- The Diocese of Wagga Wagga
- Diocese of Wollongong
- Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes
- Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Saint Maron of Sydney (Maronites)
- Melkite Catholic Eparchy
- Military Ordinariate of Australia
- Syro Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas
- The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross
- Catholic Religious Orders:
- De La Salle Brothers
- Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
- Marist Fathers Australian Province
- Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart
- Sylvestrine Benedictine Monks
- The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)
- Global Interaction
- Korowal Independent School (NSW)
- The Salvation Army
- Scouts Australia
- Scouts NSW
- United Protestant Association NSW