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United call for Urgent Action on Redress

Leading organisations working with child abuse victims appeal for National Scheme

Australia, 15 March 2016: A collective of leading organisations representing child abuse victims have come together today call on the Federal Government to show real leadership and announce its concrete commitment to a National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse. 

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse report has strongly recommended that the optimal way to deliver equal, fair and just treatment to survivors is to establish a single National Redress Scheme, and that this should happen as soon as possible. The undersigned organisations are undivided in their support for a national scheme, as recommended by the Royal Commission. 

President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, said: “We call on the Federal, State and Territory governments to work with institutions to deliver real justice and healing to Australian survivors as a matter of absolute priority. More than six months has passed since the redress report was delivered to the Government - it’s time for action.

“While successive governments have expressed their deep sympathy for survivors, they have only just commenced negotiations with the States and Territories. The bulk of survivor organisations support a single scheme which is ready to begin inviting and accepting applications from survivors within the timeframe recommended by the Commission, by no later than 1 July 2017.”

The Federal government is pursuing a state-based approach to redress rather than the Commission’s recommendation of a national redress scheme. Redress recognises the suffering experienced by survivors and is a critical component of the healing process. 

Executive Officer of Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN), Leonie Sheedy, said: “The last thing Care Leavers need is another unfair system which does not address their chronically unmet needs. CLAN supports a National Independent Redress Scheme for survivors of all forms of abuse. We regard this as a critical issue of justice. We add our voice to the call for urgent action from the Federal Government.”

Chief Executive Officer of Truth, Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, said: “Australia needs an independent national redress scheme so that regardless of where or when a survivor was abused they have access to consistent, compassionate and generous redress. Where someone lives or where they were abused should not change how they are treated which will inevitable happen if all the states operate separate schemes.”

Chief Executive Officer of Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, agreed: “The correct action on this important issue can’t be delayed any longer. This is a significant social issue and addressing it demands strong leadership and real commitment from all of our elected representatives.” 

The National Redress Scheme will achieve significant efficiencies in administration, be less complex for survivors and deliver consistent and fair access, as well as treatment for survivors – regardless of the institution and its characteristics in which the abuse occurred and no matter where they live. This is an urgent call to the Government to expedite a national redress scheme for Australian survivors of institutional child sexual abuse to finally let the healing begin.


Media Contact

Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM, President ASCA: 0425 812 197 

Leonie Sheedy, CLAN: 0425 204 747

Francis Sullivan, Truth Justice and Healing Council, media contact Michael Salmon:  0417 495 018 

ACOSS Media number: 0419 626 155

People with Disabilities Australia Incorporated, Dr. Jess Cadwallader: 0431 998 273


Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) is the leading national organisation supporting the estimated five million Australian adults who are survivors of childhood trauma, including child sexual abuse.

Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) is a National Peak membership body offering advocacy, research training and support for people raised in Australia's out of home care, foster care and other institutions

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council coordinates the Catholic Church's response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse with a commitment to justice and compassion for survivors

The Australian Council of Social Service is the peak body of the community services and welfare sector and the national voice for the needs of people affected by poverty and inequality. 

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy organisation.


# Steve
Monday, 1 February 2016 2:09 PM
I thought the current Royal Commission into this was going to be all smoke & mirrors. They seem to only be going for the easy targets & keeping away from some cults that have hidden their own abuser's, & know they will be safe because they have funded & shown support for a certain Government. I was told nothing will be done for me because not enough people from the same abuser have come forward only because they fear the retaliation from the said cult. I was not a member just at the wrong place wrong time.
# Ashley
Monday, 1 February 2016 2:31 PM
Once again the government isnt interested in taking any responsibility and just pushing victims back 2 steps. Its diguisting how the government is so focused on making it hard for victims rather then saying yes it has happened this is what we can do. And how about changing the law so these perpetrators are not just getting left in our society around our children. We see how much its costing to help the victims which they need but how about we increase jail time so there scared. I can get the same time robbing a conveince shop then touching a child
 Mark King
# Mark King
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 12:56 PM
I am concerned that the scheme proposed is capped at $200 but not at the low end. An average settlement of $60k means that some will get much less. If you want to make it clear to a victim that they don't matter give them $20 or $30k. If you want to reinforce the view, to organisations, that victims are just collateral damage a normal cost of doing business set the payouts comfortably low. To be meaningful settlements have to be set at an acceptable level high enough to tell the victim they matter and have some consequence to the organisation. The hope being that they will change their behavior in the future
# Steve
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 6:25 PM
Well said Mark,but no amount of money is going to help me. I just want justice which will never happen just to know the evil p/()k rots in jail. Yes compensation will help people. Just to see him shed tears & wipe the smile off his face that I will never forget. I'm not saying victims are in it for the money. It's never going to happen whilst the church is higher than the law Pell is living proof!
# Ashley
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 6:47 PM
I agree steve that money isnt everything to a victim compared to justice
But steve our laws are so bad even if a few victims came forward he would only get a smack on the wrist. Compared to the time they taken from there victim. On average its takes 22 years to come forward to talk about the abuse but yet they still only receive 2-3 years jail. And thats if ur lucky. I had a good judge and he pleased guilty then innocent then back to quilty where he could get a lesser time for pleading guilty. Everyone was so happy and suprised he got 3 year jail while i felt like i had been slapped in the face. How can he get three years when he ruined mine and my siblings lifes forever. How can he say his guilty not guilty then guilty. Its like someone confessing to murder showing them what u killed the person with then taking it back. And the redress should not be on how bad the abuse was but rather the effects on the victims. Amd 20 to 30 k isnt go to help Steve. The government should cover for loss of life eg the job u could of had the different life u could of had
# Steve
Thursday, 18 February 2016 7:24 PM
Agree totally Ashley ,I was given a private session with the Royal Commision when it started, it took me over 30 years to get the courage,I just asked if anything was going to happen was then told not enough people from the same person have come forward so nothing is going to happen,what a kick in the guts. Seems the Exclusive Brethren & their rapid relief team are above the law untouchable. Seems the government is scared of them. The government even buy hospital equipment off one of the sect leaders businesses and no one cares. Where is the justice. It should be the untaxed religions footing all the payouts.never going to happen
# Stephen
Thursday, 17 March 2016 9:18 AM
It was a grave mistake to commence the Royal Commission without an appropriate counselling support service in place. Survivors dissociate for a reason, and that is to survive. By drawing the suffering from which we have been distanced into sharp focus, the Royal Commission has put at risk the health, well being and safety of an entire cohort of extremely vulnerable people. The Turnbull Federal government should respond to this lack of appropriate counselling support as the crisis it is and immediately start work on establishing a therapeutic service to provide the long term and as required counselling that we survivors need to heal, or to at least better manage our complex trauma.
Blue Knot Foundation
# Blue Knot Foundation
Monday, 21 March 2016 9:16 AM
Hi Stephen,
ASCA provides short-term telephone counselling support and information to survivors of child abuse. By calling the 1300 helpline, this gives our callers the opportunity to discuss their complex issues and for us to collaboratively look at some options for longer term therapy and support. If you would like to give us a call on 1300 657 380, our helpline is open 7 days a week between 9am and 5pm and is staffed by trained and experienced counsellors. If you would like us to give you a call then please email across your contact details to and let us know when is the best time for a call back and if it is okay to leave you a message.
Kind regards,
The ASCA Team
# Paul
Friday, 22 April 2016 8:43 AM
I am appalled yet not surprised with the progress of the Royal Commission...and it will follow that it is merely a 'pretend' effort at addressing the incredible pain and suffering that has been inflicted on us as little children. We have had to grow in a extended period of darkness without little hope of any light for the future. We have little or no hope of surviving and the redress system proposed is an insult. Under civil law actions, compensation payouts are substantially higher than the paltry amounts being proposed. I live on a disability pension and cannot make ends meet and the amount proposed will not ensure that whatever life is remaining for us that suffer will not be comfortable. Not that any monetary payout will ever change what happened to us or provide any mental or emotional comfort, BUT it would provide for some normalized social living standard. Hence the redress system should be in balance with other compensation payouts for other injuries, taking into account loss of income etc. Which it appears that it does not. Disgusted and lost.

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“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

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