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AustraliaHobart child abuse survivor yet to receive compensation from National Redress Scheme

04:05  07 december  2018
04:05  07 december  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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Redress , or The Redress Trust is a human rights organisation based in London, England, that helps survivors of torture to obtain justice and reparation, in the form of compensation , rehabilitation, official acknowledgement of the wrong and formal apologies. In addition Redress seek accountability for

Survivors of institutional child abuse will be able to get up to 0,000 as part of a national redress scheme announced by the federal government. South Australia has opted out of the scheme , while NSW and Victoria have yet to announce their positions and Western Australia's stance is unclear.

Hobart child abuse survivor yet to receive compensation from National Redress Scheme© Provided by ABC News Pamela can't be identified under Tasmania's evidence act, even if she wanted to be. Hobart woman "Pamela" has no memory of the first 11 years of her life.

"It's all been blacked out. I can't remember," she said.

"It's all been blocked, the doctor said, because it was horrible. I can't … I won't let it out."

As a child, Pamela was preyed upon by her own violent father until she was forcibly removed into the care of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Order at the Mt Saint Canice residential institution in Sandy Bay.

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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

But the abuse continued, and almost six decades on and now aged in her 70s, she still bears the injuries — mental and physical.

One hand remains crippled. The stigma is insidious.

"I was told from the beginning that I'll always be bad, always, that there's no goodness about me," Pamela said.

"You're just nothing. You've got no-one to defend you."

Survivor fears people don't believe her

Pamela has battled the stigma her whole life.

Pamela is not her real name — even if she wanted to be identified to tell her story, she is forbidden to do so under Tasmania's Evidence Act — a law the State Government has recently said it would reconsider.

She told the ABC that she fears people don't believe her suffering. She survives on welfare. She cannot afford to visit her family interstate.

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A new national compensation scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse has been designed to have “maximum reach to Australian victims”, the Members of the scheme would opt in on the understanding that they fund the cost of their own eligible redress claims, in accordance with

Up to 60,000 adult survivors of child sex abuse could receive monetary compensation through a national redress scheme if Labor wins office at the next federal election The chance for survivors to receive a direct personal response from their abuser or the institution that housed their abuser .

Like thousands of survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Catholic-run institutions, Pamela worked up the courage to tell her story to the royal commission when it came to Tasmania.

So she welcomed news of a National Redress Scheme and the State Government's announcement in May that it was opting in.

When shortly afterwards the Catholic Church opted in, Pamela re-lived her past again over more than 40 pages of application forms.

"It's been about 15 years that I've been waiting. So I can pay for my funeral, I've been paying $25 a fortnight," she said.

"It's just a little bit extra to make me happy and stop me feeling like I'm bludging all the time, you know.

"Because people like me have to go to City Missions and Salvation Armies and St Vincent de Paul for food orders and things. I wouldn't have to if they gave me some money.

"Every day I look at the post box to see if there's any message to say you've been successful. But it's so hard getting money out of the Church."

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Catholic Church not opting in as single entity

Pamela is still waiting and she is not alone.

The Catholic Church is yet to formally enter the scheme.

It told the ABC it was no longer opting in to the redress scheme as a single panel entity, but slowly, diocese by diocese.

It blamed the gradual signing on of individual states.

As for Catholic Orders such as the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Melbourne-based lawyer Angela Sdrinis said the future was uncertain.

The ABC has seen a copy of a letter sent to Ms Sdrinis in which the Order told her it was yet to consider opting in, because it did not "anticipate there being a significant number of claimants".

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Church told the ABC the Church was "working closely" with the Federal Government to facilitate the entry of Catholic congregations into the scheme "as soon as possible".

That included the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the statement said. It was unclear when that would occur.

Ms Sdrinis said the experience was re-traumatising many survivors.

"Now that's a real blow. If the Sisters of Good Shepherd don't opt in, those people won't be eligible for redress. As yet I think they're still sitting on the fence and there's no certainty that that particular institution will opt in," Ms Sdrinis said.

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The government’s redress scheme would also make it harder for non-citizens or non-permanent residents to get compensation . The sexual assault counsellors urged the government to allow family members of child abuse survivors to access a national redress scheme , and for it to provide

Child abuse survivors were enraged this month by Justice Peter McClellan’s decision to allow Cardinal George Pell to give evidence to the Royal Will Australia adopt a national redress scheme to support child sex abuse survivors ? We will know by the end of January 2016, news.com.au has

"For many survivors, it's just a reminder of the bad old days when you couldn't sue the Catholic Church, you couldn't find a legal entity that could be held liable. It's just a revisiting of that trauma.

"And disappointing because it's contrary to what the Catholic Church announced it would do."

She said survivors were losing hope, and at worst, dying while they waited.

'We never should have advocated for a national redress'

Leonie Sheedy of the Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) has become Australia's public, persistent face of advocacy for survivors of institutional abuse.

She said the situation was agonising and deeply hurtful.

Only one CLAN member had received redress at the time of interview, Ms Sheedy said, and that was after a personal intervention.

He died within 24 hours.

"We didn't get an option to opt out of abuse. We had to put up with those crimes being committed on us," Ms Sheedy said.

"The respect the royal commission had for us, they went out of their way to make people feel valued, respected and heard. I feel that we never should have advocated for a national redress, that's how I feel.

"I feel like I've set people up to make them feel like their country would care about them and they don't. I feel like I've given Care Leavers false hope."

Institutions have two years to formally sign on to the scheme.

'We've told our story, leave it at that'

Ms Sdrinis said although the idea of the scheme was positive, it was a "rocky road".

"It's very painful for the clients, it's painful for me," Ms Sdrinis said.

"Some of these clients we've been acting for for a long time … I'm the one that has to deal with their anger, their grief, their disappointment, their worry. It's difficult.

"It's difficult for them most importantly and it's difficult for their survivors, because we can't actually — even today, after five years of royal commission, half a billion dollars of taxpayers' money, a redress scheme, all of that fanfare, the apology, everything that's happened — we still can't say to these people, 'Yes, we will be able to get you a result'.

"And that's what it was all for."

Pamela said she was holding out hope for some closure, and a chance to be proud.

"Everyone went to the royal commission to tell our story … then the redress comes and you have to prove this, this, this. Why? We've told our story, leave it at that.

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