Amendments to National Redress Scheme essential to ensure fair access to justice
10th Oct 2018
Amendments to the National Redress Scheme are required to ensure that all survivors of abuse have fair access to justice, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“There are aspects of the Scheme which cause us great concern,” said Dr Andrew Morrison RFD SC, ALA spokesperson.
“The maximum redress payment proposed is inadequate, and we believe the maximum payment should be increased in line with the original recommendations of the Royal Commission. The criteria for the amount of payment is based on the degree of physical contact and not on the effect on the victim. This is clearly arbitrary and unjust.
“The ALA is also concerned about how ongoing counselling and psychological support will be facilitated after the Scheme winds up, and the lack of access to external review of the Scheme’s decisions.”
The ALA also continues to strongly oppose the eligibility criteria for the Scheme.
“We firmly believe that the only eligibility requirement should be having suffered abuse in an institution,” said Dr Morrison.
“Currently a person with a criminal record may be denied access to the National Redress Scheme. Those whose lives were ruined and were led into crime directly or indirectly as a result of their abuse should not be punished a second time in this way.
“It is also absolutely unjust to deny access to the Scheme to children who were abused in immigration detention. It is the power of the institution over the individual that creates the opportunity for abuse and this dynamic is certainly at work in immigration detention.”
Dr Andrew Morrison RFD SC presented these views to the hearing of the Joint Select Committee on oversight of the implementation of redress-related recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.