TEN THOUSAND people who were sexually abused as children in Queensland will now be able to seek compensation for the trauma they suffered after landmark legislation was passed in State Parliament.
The National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2018 will allow victims of institutional abuse to claim upwards of $150,000.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the Redress Scheme was a significant step in acknowledging and supporting those who suffered “horrific and often systemic” sexual abuse.
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Mr Farmer said it was estimated 5000 people had been sexually abused in Queensland Government institutions – such as schools, prisons, and hospitals.
A further 5000 people are estimated to have been abused in non-government institutions.
“This scheme is very important for people who endured these horrendous experiences of sexual abuse, as it acknowledges what they have been through,” Ms Farmer said.
“Redress is about healing, justice and recognising past wrongs. Recognising the harm that people suffered is an important step towards their recovery.
“We are working to do all we can so people can get the support and recognition they deserve as quickly as possible.
The State Government announced in April it would contribute $500 million to support the scheme.
Ms Farmer said the Queensland Government’s participation in the National Scheme was expected to commence before the end of the year.
Redress will be provided to eligible applicants through three ways, including a monetary payment and access to counselling and psychological care.
Victims will also have the option to receive a direct personal response from the institution responsible for providing the redress.
Payments will range up to $150,000, with the level of compensation awarded to be determined on a case by case basis.
Leading legal advocates for abuse survivors Slater and Gordon welcomed the legislation, with practice group leader Andrew Baker saying it will make it easier for survivors to receive support.
“Many of these survivors have suffered horrific abuse, which has left them with ongoing health issues – so it is critical for all governments to commit to implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission and make this process as easy as possible,” Mr Baker said.
“In our decades of experience of acting for survivors, we have seen first-hand the importance of providing individuals affected by child sexual abuse with a viable alternative to adversarial and confrontational litigation.
“The move by the Queensland Government today means many Queensland survivors are one step closer to justice.”
For more on the National Redress Scheme, phone 1800 737 377 or click here.