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Part 1-1—Introduction

Part 1-1 Introduction

Division 1 Preliminary

1   Short title

                   This Act is the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018 .

2   Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

As follows:

(a) if this Act receives the Royal Assent before 1 July 2018—1 July 2018;

(b) if this Act receives the Royal Assent on or after 1 July 2018—a single day to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if the provisions do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

Division 2 Objects of this Act

3   Objects of this Act

             (1)  The main objects of this Act are:

                     (a)  to recognise and alleviate the impact of past institutional child sexual abuse and related abuse; and

                     (b)  to provide justice for the survivors of that abuse.

             (2)  For the purposes of achieving those objects, the objects of this Act are also:

                     (a)  to establish the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse; and

                     (b)  to provide redress under the scheme which consists of:

                              (i)  a monetary payment to survivors as a tangible means of recognising the wrong survivors have suffered; and

                             (ii)  a counselling and psychological component which, depending on where the survivor lives, consists of access to counselling and psychological services or a monetary payment; and

                            (iii)  a direct personal response to survivors from the participating institutions responsible; and

                     (c)  to enable institutions responsible for abuse of survivors to participate in the scheme to provide that redress to those survivors; and

                     (d)  to implement the joint response of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth Government; and

                             (ii)  the government of each participating State; and

                            (iii)  the government of each participating Territory;

                            to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in relation to redress.

Division 3 Simplified outline of this Act

4   Simplified outline of this Act

This Act establishes the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse to provide redress to survivors of past institutional child sexual abuse.

Redress under the scheme is for abuse that is within the scope of the scheme. Abuse of a person is within the scope of the scheme if:

       (a)     it occurred when the person was a child; and

      (b)     it occurred before the scheme start day; and

       (c)     it occurred inside a participating State, inside a Territory, or outside Australia (that is, it did not occur inside a State that is not participating in the scheme).

Redress consists of 3 components:

       (a)     a redress payment (of up to $150,000); and

      (b)     a counselling and psychological component which, depending on where the person lives, consists of access to counselling and psychological services or a counselling and psychological services payment (of up to $5,000); and

       (c)     a direct personal response from each participating institution responsible for the abuse.

To be entitled to redress, a number of conditions need to be met. First, the person must make an application for redress. Then the person must meet the eligibility criteria. These are that:

       (a)     the person was sexually abused; and

      (b)     the abuse is within the scope of the scheme; and

       (c)     the abuse is of a kind for which the maximum amount of redress payment worked out under the assessment framework would be more than nil; and

      (d)     one or more participating institutions are responsible for the abuse; and

       (e)     at the time of the application, the person is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident.

A participating institution is responsible for abuse of a person if the abuse occurred in circumstances where the participating institution is primarily or equally responsible for the abuser having contact with the person. Various circumstances are relevant to determining that question (e.g. whether the abuser was an official of the institution).

The participating institutions are:

       (a)     all Commonwealth institutions; and

      (b)     any State institution that is declared to be a participating institution; and

       (c)     any Territory institution that is declared to be a participating institution; and

      (d)     any non-government institution that is declared to be a participating institution.

If the Operator considers that there is a reasonable likelihood that the person is eligible for redress, the Operator must approve the application and make an offer of redress to the person. The person may accept or decline the offer.

If the person accepts the offer, then the person becomes entitled to redress under the scheme. The person is required to release particular institutions and officials from all civil liability for the abuse. Those institutions and officials are the participating institutions determined by the Operator to be responsible for the abuse, their officials, their associates and the officials of their associates. The abuser is not released from liability.

Once entitled, the person will be provided with redress under the scheme.

If the person declines the offer, then the person is not entitled to redress under the scheme. The person is not required to release any institution or official from liability for the abuse.

The Operator is responsible for the administration of the scheme. To ensure that the scheme is survivor-focussed, the Operator (and other officers of the scheme) must take into account general guiding principles when taking action under the scheme. For example, one of the principles is that redress must be assessed and provided so as to avoid further harming or traumatising the person.

Participating institutions that are determined by the Operator to be responsible for the abuse of a person are liable for the costs of providing redress to the person. Those institutions are also liable for contributing to the costs of the administration of the scheme. The Operator is responsible for recovering those costs from those institutions through funding contributions, which those institutions are required to pay on a quarterly basis.