Big gaps in redress schemes

Big gaps in redress schemes

Cornelia Rau received almost $3 million from the federal government in 2005 because she had been unlawfully locked up in a detention centre for 10 months.

That payout has abuse survivors support group Care Leavers Australia Network wondering about equity in any system backed by governments and institutions, which may recommend maximum payments between $100,000 and $200,000.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse launched a consultation paper on redress on Friday.

The commission outlined models for a scheme that would cost more than $4 billion over 10 years, with an average payment of $65,000 for 65,000 assumed claimants.

Some states and territories already have redress schemes for abuse victims, with Tasmania capping payments at $60,000, Queensland $40,000 and Western Australia $45,000.

When people resort to common law and decide to sue an institution, payments can far exceed the proposed limits of a national redress scheme.

However, going to court as a victim of historical abuse might present difficulties due to the statute of limitations and because the levels of proof required are higher.

Under Towards Healing, the internal redress scheme run by the Catholic Church, the average payment was $48,300 but in some cases payments exceeded $300,000.

Under Cardinal George Pell’s Melbourne Response payments were capped at $70,000 and the average payment made by the Salvation Army was $49,000.

The national redress scheme would take into account what people have already been paid and assessment of monetary payments would be made on a matrix, assessing severity of abuse, severity of impact and distinctive institutional factors.



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