The National Redress Scheme provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced child sexual abuse in institutions across Australia.
If you were abused, the National Redress Scheme can help you to access 3 things:
- a direct personal response from the responsible institution (eg an apology)
- a monetary payment.
The scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years. The Department for Child Protection (DCP) began participating in the scheme in February 2019, along with other state government institutions.
About the scheme
Redress is an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts for the abuse you suffered due to the failing of an institution. People can either accept an offer of redress through the National Redress Scheme or seek compensation through the courts.
You can apply for redress up until 30 June 2027 if you:
- were born before 30 June 2010, and
- experienced institutional child sexual abuse before 1 July 2018, and
- are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and
- are applying about an institution that has joined the National Redress Scheme.
Some applications may be processed differently, such as if you are currently under 18 years old, have ever been sentenced to more than 5 years in jail, or if you have already received a payment related to your abuse.
All applications for redress must be made to the National Redress Scheme, which is run by the Australian Government. DCP cannot take any applications.
You can apply by filling in an online or paper form. The form is available from the National Redress Scheme website or by calling 1800 737 377.
A range of support services are available to help you fill out the application form and provide you with support through the redress process.
The National Redress Scheme was established in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people had experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. The sexual abuse happened in children's homes, foster care, schools, churches and other religious organisations, sports clubs, hospitals and other institutions.
The Royal Commission found that the nature of child sexual abuse can make it hard for people to prove what happened to them. As such, the Royal Commission recommended that redress be given to people who experienced child sexual abuse.
In response, the Australian Government set up the National Redress Scheme. All state and territory governments have committed to participating in the scheme.
Role of the Department for Child Protection
DCP is committed to participating in the National Redress Scheme and acknowledging the sexual abuse that people experienced in a range of out-of-home care settings.
DCP will be involved in the scheme in two main ways:
1. Providing information to the National Redress Scheme
When a redress application is being processed, the National Redress Scheme may request certain information from DCP to help the independent decision maker consider the application.
DCP will provide a range of relevant information, for example dates and details about an applicant's time in out-of-home care.
All information provided as part of the scheme is kept strictly confidential, and is protected under a special piece of legislation called the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018.
2. Providing a 'direct personal response'
If you receive an offer of redress, you can ask for a direct personal response from the institution responsible for your abuse.
If DCP is the responsible institution, you can tell your story to a representative from the department and receive an apology and explanation of what DCP is doing to stop people from being abused in the future.
A direct personal response can be done in a variety of ways, such as a face-to-face meeting with a DCP representative or a written letter. We will work with you to develop a direct personal response that meets your needs and keeps you feeling safe. You can have a support person with you throughout the process.
Once you have accepted your offer of redress, you will be provided with information about how to contact us when you feel ready. You can ask for a direct personal response any time until 30 June 2028.
Accessing your historical records
If you were provided with out-of-home care by the department in the past, you can apply for documents and information held by DCP that relate to your time in care.
There are a number of free and confidential redress support services that can help you to understand the scheme and guide you through the application process.
A full list of support services can be found on the National Redress Scheme website.
If you, or someone you know needs immediate support, 24 hour telephone assistance is available through:
- beyondblue: 1300 224 636
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
- MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
National Redress Scheme
Telephone: 1800 737 377
DCP Redress Response Team
Phone: 8226 3520