National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The ACT joined the National Redress Scheme to provide support to people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. If you experienced childhood sexual abuse when you were in the care of an institution, or when an institution was meant to be looking after you, you might be eligible for redress under the Scheme.

The ACT Government is responsible for claims against its organisations: for example, organisations responsible for residential care facilities, youth justice facilities, public schools and public hospitals.

The ACT Government acknowledges that survivors of child sexual abuse suffer long lasting and severe damage that can affect them for the rest of their lives.

The Scheme became available from 1 July 2018. Survivors can apply to the Scheme for redress at any time until 30 June 2027. If the Scheme agrees that you are eligible for redress you could be offered three different things.

1. Access to counselling
If you are offered counselling and you live in the ACT, Victim Support ACT can provide you with a counsellor. If you already have a counsellor, you can continue seeing them. Victim Support ACT offers unlimited hours of counselling for redress clients.      

2. A Direct Personal Response, such as an apology, from the responsible institution
You can choose whether or not to have a Direct Personal Response.

A Direct Personal Response means the institution will say sorry for the child sexual abuse you experienced. The institution will also tell you what they have done to stop abuse from happening to anyone else. You can choose to have a senior person from the institution meet with you in person, talk to you over the phone or send you a letter.

If you receive a redress offer you will be asked if you want to have a Direct Personal Response. If you do, and the abuse occurred in an ACT Government institution, you will be given a contact number within Victim Support ACT. If the abuse occurred in another institution, you will be provided with a number to contact that institution.

You can call this number when you are ready to set up your Direct Personal Response. You can choose how the Direct Personal Response will happen, when it will happen and who will be there. You can also change your mind. You can have a Direct Personal Response any time before 30 June 2028.

3. A monetary payment of up to $150,000
If you receive a payment as part of your redress offer, you will be given some money. The amount you receive will be influenced by what happened when you experienced child sexual abuse and the impact the child sexual abuse had on your life.  Your payment could be from less than $10,000 up to $150,000. If you have previously received a payment for the abuse, your redress payment may be lower.

You can ask to receive your redress payment in instalments to give you choice and control over how you receive your payment.

If you are aged 70 or older, or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged 55 or over, or terminally ill, you may be eligible to receive a $10,000 advance payment.

The ACT Government’s Sanctions Policy will be enlivened when the Commonwealth Government sanctions non-compliant NGIs – that is, when the Commonwealth Government publicly names an NGI for failing to join the Scheme.

Who can access the National Redress Scheme?

You can apply for redress under the National Redress Scheme if:

  • What happened to you included child sexual abuse and
  • An institution was responsible for bringing you into contact with the person who abused you.

The Scheme is accessible to Australian citizens or permanent residents who suffered sexual abuse while in the care of an institution.  It does not cover non-institutional abuse such as abuse by a family member. The abuse must have happened when the person was aged under 18 years, and before 1 July 2018 when the Scheme started. 

You can find out more about eligibility on the Scheme website here or by calling the Scheme for free on 1800 737 377.  You can also discuss your eligibility with a worker from a free and confidential Redress Support Service. You can find the contact details for Redress Support Services on the Scheme website here or call the Scheme for free on 1800 737 377.

In most cases, the institution or organisation responsible for the abuse must have joined the Scheme. Information about which ACT institutions or organisations have joined is available here or by calling the Scheme for free on 1800 737 377.

How do I apply for redress?

To apply for redress, you will need to talk or write about what happened when you were sexually abused as a child. You can fill in your application by yourself or seek support from a trusted friend or family member, or from a Redress Support Service.

Redress Support Services provide free and timely access to trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support before, during and after the application process. A Redress Support Service worker can help you fill in your application and provide you with support during the process including while you wait for the National Redress Scheme to make a decision about your application. You can find the contact details for Redress Support Services on the Scheme website here or call the Scheme for free on 1800 737 377.

Applications will be assessed by independent decision makers on a case-by-case basis. An independent decision maker will review your application carefully and decide if you can receive redress, what types of redress you can receive and how much the payment will be. It can take time for a decision to be made. You will receive a letter advising you about the outcome of your application.

You will need to consider whether applying for redress under the Scheme is the right choice for you. You might like to seek legal advice. You can access free, independent, and confidential legal advice from knowmore legal service. You can visit their website here or call them for free on 1800 605 762.

How do I access free help to apply for redress?

You can find the contact details for support services on the National Redress Scheme website here or call the Scheme for free on 1800 737 377.  

In the ACT, services available to help you apply include:

  • knowmore legal service - 1800 605 762

  • ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service – 6242 5060

  • Relationships Australia Canberra and Region – 6122 7190 and 1300 364 277

Need free 24/7 support?

It is normal to feel nervous or distressed about the idea of applying for redress as it may raise difficult memories and feelings. Remember to look after your wellbeing.

These are telephone services that are there to listen to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • Beyond Blue                                      1300 224 636
  • Lifeline                                               13 11 14
  • 1800RESPECT                                 1800 737 732
  • Suicide Call Back Service                 1300 659 467
  • Mensline Australia                             1300 787 978

Fact Sheet 

A fact sheet for survivors and those who may work with or support survivors including ACT Government staff can be found here

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources

These products were developed by Canvas 3 to provide culturally appropriate information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors.

For non-government institutions

The ACT Government is committed to preventing and responding to institutional child sexual abuse.

The ACT Government expects that institutions that are named in applications for redress, will join the National Redress Scheme within six months from the time they are notified to join the Scheme, provided that the institution can fulfil its obligations under the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018 (Cth), so that survivors can gain access to redress.