Institutions are on notice that if they fail to join the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse they risk exclusion from future NSW Government funding or contracts.
Last week, I attended the Ministers’ Redress Scheme Governance Board (Board) meeting of relevant Ministers across Australia with responsibility for the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (the Scheme).
The Scheme was established to provide support and recognition to thousands of brave survivors of past institutional child sexual abuse.
This includes access to counselling, a payment of up to $150,000 and a direct personal response from the institution or institutions responsible for this horrific abuse.
At last week’s meeting, Ministers acknowledged the many institutions that have already expressed their support and joined the Scheme.
For the Scheme to fulfil its role, all responsible institutions must join without delay to ensure that survivors of child sexual abuse can access redress.
Ministers agreed at the meeting that institutions that fail to join the Scheme will be vulnerable to sanctions, including being ineligible for Government funding.
The Commonwealth Government, and all states and territories, stand united in condemnation of any institution that fails to fulfil their moral obligation to survivors.
By introducing financial sanctions, NSW will build on the Board’s April announcement to ensure more institutions join the Scheme as soon as possible.
The April announcement was that institutions named by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse or named in an application received by the Scheme were required to provide a clear written statement setting out their intention to join by no later than 30 June 2020. These institutions must join as soon as possible, but no later than 31 December 2020. Institutions that are named after 30 June will have six months to join.
The announcement also made clear that if an institution does not join the Scheme within the relevant six-month period, it will face public naming and potential sanctions applied by state, territory and/or Commonwealth governments.
On 1 July this year, the Commonwealth publicly named six institutions that failed to signify their intent to join the Scheme. This has now reduced to four institutions.
NSW remains committed to taking the appropriate steps to ensure as many survivors as possible have access to the redress they deserve.
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