National redress scheme well overdue: LCA
The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to consult with the states and territories over a national redress scheme for victims of institutional child sex abuse.
Last week the Federal Government confirmed that it would take the next step in developing a national scheme for redress.
The announcement follows a recommendation made in September 2015 by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that a national scheme for redress be established.
LCA president Stuart Clark said it was vital that “urgent consideration” be given by the states and territories to the development of a nationally consistent approach to redress.
“Survivors of child sexual abuse have already waited too long for a national response to redress and there is still much to be done,” Mr Clark said.
“In developing national principles for the redress scheme, it is imperative that the Commonwealth, States and Territories are established as the funders of last resort,” he continued.
“This is necessary to ensure all survivors can obtain redress.”
Mr Clark said the government should also consider reforms to civil litigation identified by the Royal Commission, including limitation periods, vicarious liability and identifying defendants.
Maurice Blackburn said the Federal Government’s announcement is a welcome but “overdue step”.
Senior associate Danielle De Paoli said survivors of institutionalised abuse had been waiting too long for acknowledgement and redress.
She urged the Federal Government to prioritise finalising a resolution for a national redress scheme as soon as possible.
“The Royal Commission handed down its recommendations for a national redress scheme in September 2015, yet it is only now we are finally starting to see a more comprehensive response from the Federal Government to this,” Ms De Paoli said.
“The fact is that moves to commence further discussions with the states – as has been announced today – is something the Federal Government should have been beginning months ago, when the Royal Commission’s recommendations were released.”
Ms De Paoli said it was also critical that recommendations made by the Royal Commission to remove limitation periods for victims of sexual abuse were acted on as a priority.
“In most states, this issue is still yet to be legislated or addressed, despite the recommendations of the Royal Commission last September,” she said.