Posted on 25 Jan 2021
Slater and Gordon is warning the Federal Government’s seven year extension for institutions to join the National Redress Scheme may put child sex abuse survivors off making a claim to the scheme.
The Federal Government recently announced it had given institutions who had failed to join the scheme until January 31 2028 to meet their legal requirements.
Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer Nick Hart said it was disgraceful that the Federal Government had given institutions another seven years to avoid their responsibilities to support survivors of horrific abuse.
Mr Hart said the scheme needed to be looking at delivering recognition and treatment for survivors who were waiting in limbo, at the very least, to enable them to be supported.
“Giving these institutions another seven years to join the scheme is excessive. If some of these institutions are only part of the scheme for six months, it’s a very small window for those survivors to make a claim and it’s too long for them to wait,” Mr Hart said.
“It is imperative that what survivors went through is acknowledged and they are able to seek justice and redress. In many ways, “justice delayed is justice denied”.
“This delay may put survivors off making a claim, knowing they won’t have an entitlement to claim until the institution joins the scheme.”
Mr Hart said the three institutions who had not signified an intent to join should face the sanctions from the Federal Government sooner rather than later.
“What institute should require seven years? We should be saying if you don’t join, you need to nominate a funder of last resort. These are people we should be assisting in our community. These are the survivors who need to be given a fair go by ensuring no one has been left behind,” Mr Hart said.
“The Royal Commission was announced more than eight years ago - that’s four Prime Ministers ago. We will have gone through another four Prime Ministers before this is resolved for some survivors. In many cases the abuse predates the Royal Commission by decades.
“There’s no denying this news of further delays is going to be causing survivors significant and undue stress. Hearing about more delays is another kick in the guts for them.”
According to the National Redress Scheme website, 14 institutions named in the Royal Commission intend to join the scheme and 11 groups signaled an intent to join but do not have the money or assets to pay and will not be subject to financial consequences.
Media Contact Anna Chisholm (03) 9602 8683/ 0437 801 093