Support for sex-abuse victims during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. Picture: David Crosling
Support for sex-abuse victims during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. Picture: David Crosling

Criminals to be barred from sexual abuse compensation

Child sexual abuse victims who have been convicted of serious crimes will be banned from the Government's $4 billion redress scheme.

The scheme will be introduced to parliament today, offering up to $150,000 in individual compensation to victims of child-sex abuse. It will also include personal apologies to the thousands of victims.

However The Australian reports, it will come with some tough conditions that will exclude sex offenders and anyone convicted of other serious crimes, including drug offences, fraud or murder, with a prison sentence of five years or more.

The newspaper also reports that institutions and states that failed to prevent child-sex abuses will come under intense pressure to sign up to the scheme.

The move by the Turnbull Government is expected to transform the way abuse survivors are handled. Victims will be judged independently according to the severity of their abuse.

The test will be a "reasonable likelihood'' that the abuse occurred.

There are plans for a special voucher system that will allow victims to access legal help so they are properly informed of their rights.

Christian Porter, the Social Services Minister, will introduce the legislation today.

Christian Porter will introduce the legislation to federal parliament today. Picture: Kym Smith
Christian Porter will introduce the legislation to federal parliament today. Picture: Kym Smith

If the legislation is passed by federal parliament it will require participants to release offending institutions from civil liability for the abuse.

However it will allow them to receive a one-off payment or additional payments if any original redress is deemed inadequate.

The initial legislation will create a federal system. The states will be required to opt in and pass their own laws to ensure that the scheme has a national reach.

Mr Porter told The Australian he wants the states and territories to act on the new scheme, which backs most of the demands made by the child-sex abuse Royal Commission.

"The Turnbull government has accepted that the states, territories and churches and charities have required proper consultation before making public statements about opting-in to the Commonwealth redress scheme,'' he said.

Justice Peter McClellan during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing. Picture: Jeremy Piper/Supplied
Justice Peter McClellan during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing. Picture: Jeremy Piper/Supplied

"But with the introduction of the Commonwealth legislation today, we are fast approaching the point where people reasonably expect other governments and institutions will commit themselves to the morally correct position, which is to make public a clear intention to join the Commonwealth scheme."

"There has been extensive consultation on the principles and mechanics of the scheme and the legislation which underpins the scheme so that certainty to survivors should be soon achievable with states, territories and institutions being able to publicly declare their decision to opt in sooner, rather than later.''

The government will accept the majority of the child-sex abuse royal commission recommendations but will reject on open-ended scheme.

Instead the scheme will be capped at 10 years.

The move to ban serious criminal offenders is designed on protecting the scheme's credibility and ensuring public money is not spent on offenders.

Read the full story at The Australian.


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