Committee recommends redress bills pass
18 April 2018
The Community Affairs Legislation Committee has handed down its final report into the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2017 and the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017 (Bills).
The Bills respond to the 2015 report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) recommending the establishment of a redress scheme for survivors, providing monetary compensation, access to counselling, and where possible, a written response from the institution.
The Committee made 11 recommendations, including that the Bills should be passed. The Law Council has long supported the passage of legislation to establish a redress scheme and considers that the Bills should reflect the recommendations of the Royal Commission. To that end, the Law Council in particular supports recommendations eight and nine made by the Committee, being that:
- the government consider changing the period of acceptance for redress from three months to six months, including provision for survivors to request an extension to this acceptance period where circumstances warrant.
- in finalising the position on the exclusion of serious criminal offenders from the Redress Scheme, the Australian, state and territory governments should consider the value of the Redress Scheme as a tool for the rehabilitation of offenders, and that excluding criminal offenders can have the unintended consequence of institutions responsible for child sexual abuse not being held liable.
The Law Council in its submission also suggested the timeframe to allow survivors to accept an offer should be extended to 12 months and that Survivors with criminal convictions should not be excluded from accessing the Scheme. The Law Council’s submission and evidence provided by Law Council President Morry Bailes at the hearing was quoted approvingly in the Committee’s main report, the Labor Senators additional report, and the Greens dissenting report, reflecting the esteem in which the Law Council is held across the political spectrum.
You can read the Law Council’s submission here.
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