We need to boycott Mr Turnbull’s wretched redress scheme
The Turnbull Government has announced that the proposed National Redress Scheme for institutional child abuse victims will exclude people with certain criminal records. If you have served five years or more in prison, been jailed for fraud, serious drug offences, or a sex offence of any kind you need not bother applying for help.
This decision has shocked the country as many victims have been in and out of jail all their lives; many took to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate the pain of their own abusive childhoods. It is a well documented fact that victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to commit crimes. Many have lived a life in trouble with the police and have experienced social isolation because of the horrific experiences of their youth. Now they are going to be deprived of the redress, recognition and the counselling therapy they so desperately need. This is enough to send some people right over the edge.
And why? Why is Mr Turnbull doing this?
For no reason other than to save some dollars and make the scheme more attractive to the State Governments, the Catholic Church and the other perpetrators.
Still, none of the responsible institutions have joined the scheme. South Australia won’t join under any circumstances. The Catholic Church will wait and see what everyone else does – they aren’t going to be the pioneers for the victims after all their total payments cost could run into the billions of dollars. And the Salvation Army prefer to run their own scheme.
Now the Commonwealth are limiting the number of people who might be eligible for payouts. There are already limitations on who can apply:
- Victims of physical abuse are excluded.
- Abused former State Wards are excluded.
- And now those with records will be excluded.
And the average payout will be $50,000. The most extreme cases will be capped at $150,000.
This is not what the Royal Commission recommended.
I call on all victims, support groups and advocacy groups to boycott this wretched scheme. Let’s have a National Redress Scheme but let’s get it right.
A few more weeks from now and the Child Abuse Royal Commission will be over. They will pack up and close the doors for the last time. Justice McClellan will issue his final recommendations to Prime Minister Turnbull and that will be it. If this proposed redress scheme is going to be Justice McClellan’s only legacy then heaven help us all. Because that’s all we are going to be left with after five long years of dredging up the past and picking the scabs off old wounds.
I feel sorry for the victims who bared their souls in public for the Royal Commission. They told their stories and suffered the emotional consequences; they went home and crashed. Some have never recovered from the trauma of the witness box. They paid the price for what?
A redress scheme which further isolates and punishes victims of abuse is not a redress scheme deserving of public support. We cannot isolate Australian citizens who have had a hard life after experiencing significant childhood trauma. We can’t let the Government pat itself on the back for a job well done while hundreds of victims go to bed every night hoping they never wake up.
It’s not good enough.
What kind of message is the Federal Government sending to the vulnerable victims of abuse when they have to jump through hoops to get some form of compensation?
The Federal Government is turning their backs on victims of child sexual abuse with this redress scheme.
Kelso Lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of child sexual assault. If you were assaulted by church clergy or an institution, get in touch today. We would like to help.
Image source:The Australian