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AASW urges a strengthening of the proposed redress scheme for survivors of institutional sexual abuse

Published: 15 February 2018

The AASW has today called for a strengthening of the proposed redress scheme in its submission to the Senate inquiry in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse have waited for far too long for institutions to be accountable for the trauma that was caused and not addressed. We commend the Government’s implementation of a redress scheme, as recommended by the Royal Commission.

“The Royal Commission shows that there are links between sexual abuse, institutional structures that enabled abuse and the long-term vulnerability and disadvantage of the survivors. We know that this can often impact the life of a survivor in many ways, including their ability to trust, their ability to pursue an education and subsequent employment, and it can impact on their mental health.

“This trauma can become internalised and be expressed in certain coping mechanisms that can lead to socially unacceptable behaviours, including crime. For these reasons, no distinctions for redress ought to be made between survivors judged to be deserving or undeserving.

“A comprehensive scheme must fully address these long-lasting effects of institutional childhood sexual abuse. Part of this is survivors’ being able to access professional intervention, such as counselling and mental health services. These services should also be available to their families.

“The proposed redress scheme is an important step towards justice and making institutions accountable, but this cannot be achieved unless all survivors and their families are treated equally.”

In its submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, the AASW makes six recommendations:

  • That survivors who have spent time in prison should not be excluded from the Scheme
  • That survivors who were sexually abused as children while they were in immigration detention be eligible for redress under the Scheme
  • That the maximum compensation payable under the Scheme be set at $200,000, not the proposed $150,000
  • That there should be an increase in the capacity of the services system to deliver the specialist, trauma-informed therapy that survivors need
  • That eligibility for counselling and mental health services be extended to include the children, siblings, parents and partners of the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse
  • That the eligibility for a direct personal response be extended to include children, siblings, parents and partners of the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse

The AASW full submission is available here.


Media contact
Angela Yin
Communications Lead
P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers