CLERGY sexual abuse survivors want Ballarat's federal election candidates to back an interim campaign for better financial support.
Survivors Andrew Collins and Peter Blenkiron yesterday called for victims to temporarily access the current Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) disability scheme, or an equivalent, until the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse recommendations are released.
"As every month goes on, more lives will be lost to suicide and more families will break up," Mr Collins said.
"The only reason we are proposing to temporarily access the DVA scheme is that it is already in place and the cost would be less than setting up a new scheme.
"This is no way minimises the contribution of those who have fought and suffered in our defence forces."
Mr Collins and Mr Blenkiron have written to the major party's Ballarat's federal election candidates, along with Senator John Madigan, on behalf of victims, their families and support groups, asking if they would support the proposal and help put it in place immediately.
They also asked if the candidates' respective parties would implement the plan, and straight away, if elected.
If not elected, they have asked if the candidate's party would still support its implementation.
The candidates have until Friday to respond.
"What difference will it make to victims? As an example, a single person currently on the disability pension would receive $366.85 per week, while a single person under the DVA scheme would receive $619.10.
"Rent assistance is the same. The health and medical services are also better, with better mental health services provided under the DVA scheme.
"Survivors suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and depression could be offered relief from the burden of everyday financial concerns just to pay the costs of living while unable to work.
"This would free survivors from this debilitating additional stress and accelerate recovery through access to ongoing counselling, body pain management and other therapies."
Mr Collins said the victims would receive nothing directly from the $434 million allocated to fund the Royal Commission, as the $45 million given to support services was only to help with evidence giving, not general counselling.
He said the religious organisations involved could also not be sued because of the way they are structured, and perpetrators had usually taken a vow of poverty.
"We believe that any costs should be tallied and charged back to the relevant institutions once the findings of the Royal Commission have been presented."