Government removes redress scheme restrictions

·1-min read

Access to the redress scheme for institutional child sexual abuse will be expanded to prisoners and a wider range of former child migrants.

The changes announced on Thursday were part of the federal government's response to an independent review of the scheme.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the government was seeking to make the redress process as smooth as possible.

"The government's main concern is the wellbeing of survivors," she said.

The changes include:

* offering reassessment of an application if a relevant institution subsequently joins the scheme;

* removing the restrictions on people applying from prison;

* making changes to the process related to serious criminal convictions to reduce the number of people required to go through the full special assessment process;

* combining separate payments to simplify the assessment process and ensure all redress outcomes recognise the impact of the abuse survivors experienced;

* further expanding access to redress for former child migrants who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents.

The change relating to prisoners would give them the choice to apply for redress while in jail or wait to apply upon release from jail.

Ms Rishworth said the changes would be subject to legislative change, to be agreed with state and territory governments.

A recommendation to change the scheme's standard of proof was rejected.

The government also rejected the idea of publicly releasing the "assessment framework policy guidelines".

Since the scheme was established in 2018, more than $1 billion in redress payments has been paid to survivors.

There are over 600 non-government organisations now participating in the scheme, covering more than 71,000 sites such as churches, schools, homes, charities, and community groups.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028