The Commonwealth Redress Scheme was introduced in the wake of 2014’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Scheme recognises that sexual abuse of children occurred in Australian institutions, and seeks to hold these institutions accountable for the harm caused.
Every state and territory in Australia has signed up to the Scheme which allows survivors to seek support and receive redress and recognition of the injustice they suffered if the relevant institution is signed up to the Scheme.
The Redress Scheme is comprised of three components:
- A redress payment (of up to $150,000), and
- Access to counselling and psychological services, and
- A direct personal response from each participating institution responsible for the abuse.
Who is eligible?
In order to access the scheme some conditions need to be met:
The abuse must be sexual in nature.
The person who was abused must have been under 18 years old at the time of the abuse.
The person who was abused must have been in the care of an institution participating in the Redress Scheme at the time of the abuse.
The person who was abused must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
An experienced Abuse claims lawyer will be able to assess your eligibility to apply under the Scheme.
Protect your legal entitlements
It’s important to understand that the Redress Scheme prevents you from pursuing a common law compensation claim if you have sought and been paid a redress payment under the Scheme, and there is no external appeal process – meaning that if you are unhappy with the offer from the Scheme, the only option is to take your case to the High Court of Australia.
As well as that, any prior payments made by one of the participating institutions in relation to abuse will be factored into any amount payable under the Redress Scheme.
How we can help
This is a complex area of law, and there are many caveats to the Scheme. For example, if you were a victim of violence, but not sexually abused, or if you were abused by an individual and there is no connection with an institution, you will not be covered by this particular Scheme and could be better off pursuing a common law claim.
Therefore, it’s recommended you speak to an experienced institutional abuse claims lawyer who will be able to help make sure all of your legal rights are protected and advise you of the best approach for your circumstances.
What to expect
When you meet your abuse compensation lawyer for the first time, they will listen and provide support during what can be a challenging time. This process includes discussing the background of your case and the impact this has had on your life. People who have suffered institutional and sexual abuse may have a problematic employment history, medical impacts (including mental health) or behavioural impacts (such as crime). All these are relevant to your compensation case. At this point your lawyer will explain to you the fees related to your case.
Once you have completed the initial discussion and signed an agreement to proceed with your case, your lawyer will start the process of investigation and gathering evidence.
One your abuse claims lawyer has compiled this information, they will discuss your legal rights and their recommendation on how to proceed with the claim. This will include time frames and any fees that may be involved during the claims process. Your lawyer will keep you updated on progress, as will the team managing your claim
We understand that the effects of experiencing sexual or physical abuse can often have a devastating impact on your financial position. We believe that people with valid claims should be able to have access to justice, regardless of financial position. That's why we were one of the first law firms to operate on a No Win - No Fee* payment system.
This means that if your case is successful, you will receive compensation and we will be paid for the legal work we have done on your behalf. However, if your case is not successful and you do not receive compensation then you will not pay any of our legal fees at all.
Importantly, our fees are not based on a percentage of the final compensation you receive, they are based on a set fee that will be explained to you in your free initial appointment**.
From time to time, you may incur additional costs throughout your case. For example, we may need to gain access to your medical records or obtain expert reports. This is called a disbursement. In your free initial appointment** we will give you an idea of whether there is likely to be any additional costs and funding options for these costs.
Assess your situation - in a free initial appointment**;
Assist in gathering any additional documents and supporting evidence;
Advise your best course of action for maximizing your compensation;
If the National Redress Scheme is the best avenue, assist you with submitting the application; and
Advise whether you should accept or seek review of any decision.