Nearly 100 Australian leaders, practitioners and organisations assisting survivors of child sex abuse have signed a petition urging the federal government to commit to a single national redress scheme.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended last year, institutions compensate survivors under a single national redress scheme for 60,000 survivors, which it said was the "most effective" for ensuring justice and the most cost-efficient model.
The scheme would be largely funded by the institutions in which the abuse occurred, but should be run by an independent board under the auspices of the federal government to ensure equity for all survivors, it said.
A spokesperson for the signatory group, psychiatrist Doctor Rob Llewellyn-Jones said there was a “once-only opportunity” to respond to survivors.
“We have written to the Prime Minister and all state premiers and territory leaders asking for a commitment to a national redress scheme – anything else, for instance separate states-based schemes, will in our opinion lead to inconsistent and inequitable outcomes,” he said.
Ballarat clergy abuse survivor Andrew Collins said a national scheme was paramount.
“Different states would have different figures and the amount of compensation paid should not depend upon where you were abused,” he said. “The longer the government delays implementing a scheme, the more lives will be lost to old age, premature deaths and suicide.For many victims this is the only path to any sort of justice and it is cruel to keep them hoping.”
Labor has pledged $33 million to establish a national redress scheme, including an initial $20 million to create a coordinating agency and an advisory council. To date the federal government has remained noncommittal on a single redress scheme, instead it is pushing for a national framework of consistent principles which would underpin redress schemes run by states and territories.