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Australia Child abuse survivors left in limbo as organisations stall on national redress scheme

05:30  18 february  2020
05:30  18 february  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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A Victorian survivor of child sexual abuse says applying for compensation was a traumatic process. Now she could be facing years of uncertainty while authorities try to deal with her claim.

Child sex abuse survivor Ray Leary says he hopes the national apology to victims of institutional abuse will provide closure after decades of trauma. For decades, institutions have covered up horrific abuses of power and communities have shut their ears to the stories of survivors , Mr Leary says.

Anne Ruston sitting at a table with a laptop and smiling at the camera: Anne Ruston says the Government will consider stripping organisations of their charitable status. (ABC News: Jed Cooper)© Provided by ABC NEWS Anne Ruston says the Government will consider stripping organisations of their charitable status. (ABC News: Jed Cooper) About 700 survivors of child sexual abuse who have applied through the national redress and compensation scheme remain in limbo because the organisations they named have not signed up to the program.

A national redress scheme was set up in response to the scale of abuse uncovered through the royal commission into Australian institutions.

The Federal Government encouraged survivors to make an application to the scheme, which offers counselling, help in securing a personal response and a redress payment.

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Image caption Abuse survivor Roy Janetzki campaigned for the compensation. Australia has begun a compensation scheme for victims of institutional child sex Australian authorities believe a Abn (bn; £2.23bn) compensation plan will help to ease the pain of victims. Financial redress was a key

Doug Goulter will be one of the first survivors of child sexual abuse to apply for compensation through the National Redress Scheme , but he is angry at the prospect of an average payout of just ,000 to compensate for the crimes committed against him.

So far, about 7,000 people have made an application for compensation payments of up to $150,000.

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The 17,000 students about to do a year abroad face huge uncertainty over funding and accommodation.

Child sex abuse : Australian government to work on national redress scheme . The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse recommended a national redress scheme for victim compensation in September last year.

But not every institution has signed up to the scheme ahead of a June 30 deadline to do so.

"At the moment, about 10 per cent of the applications that we've received from survivors have had to be put on hold because we don't have an organisation signed up to match them up to," Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said.

The Minister said that equated to about 700 abuse survivors.

In some cases, the organisation no longer existed and state and territory governments were stepping in to be the "funder of last resort".

Organisations could lose charity status

But Senator Ruston said federal, state and territory governments were also looking at ways to increase pressure on organisations that were not yet a part of the redress scheme.

"We will be looking at every option that we have to make sure that an organisation that we believe should be signed up is signed up," she said.

"And if that means that we have to take a big-stick approach to it, that's what we'll be doing."

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The apology to tens of thousands of sexual abuse survivors left many feeling conflicted. Australia has just delivered a national apology to tens of thousands of victims of child sexual abuse . Mrs Burge remains critical of the government's redress scheme , saying it forces victims to "relive their

Institutions must agree to join the National Redress Scheme so they can provide redress to people who experienced child sexual abuse in relation to their institution. All state and territory governments as well as the Commonwealth have joined the Scheme , and legislation is in place in all states and

Among the big-stick approaches could be stripping organisations of their charitable status if they refuse to join the program.

Her comments come after Swimming Australia confirmed it had not yet joined the scheme. It also has not declared an intention to take that action before the June deadline.

Olympic star Shane Gould has urged the swimming body to join the scheme, arguing the lack of action would erode faith among parents about child safety.

The Australian Olympic Committee's chief executive Matt Carroll defended the lack of action, suggesting some sports organisations could risk insolvency if they took part.

He also said Swimming Australia and other sporting groups were "fully committed" to dealing with survivors.

"The issue is being able to meet the financial requirements of the scheme, and also even if we did that, to be able to ensure that the sports can actually meet those [requirements]," Mr Carroll told the ABC.

Senator Ruston will hold talks with Mr Carroll next week.

"I would just say to anyone, do not be fearful of signing up," she said.

"There is a process here, no-one's going to send you broke.

"But these people who have suffered this trauma deserve this redress and we will do what needs to be done to make sure they get it."

A parliamentary committee has been investigating the way institutions have responded to the recommendations of the royal commission.

Last year, the committee recommended penalising institutions that failed to sign up by stripping them of their charitable status and suspending tax concessions.

Senator Ruston has provided her response to the inquiry which is expected to be published on the inquiry website later today.

School removes statue resembling teacher after abuse claims .
The bronze figure was cast in the likeness of celebrated former staff member Desmond Lyle 'Jim' Graham, who former students say inflicted physical and sexual abuse upon pupils.But despite its distinct similarity to Desmond Lyle 'Jim' Graham, an Order of Australia recipient and veteran staff member of The Armidale School (TAS), headmaster Alan Jones and chairman Sebastian Hempel repeated previous assertions the bronze figure unveiled during a tribute concert for the late teacher was not him.

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