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Child Abuse Victims Could Receive $4 Billion

3 February 2015 at 10:16 am
Lina Caneva
Australian churches, charitable organisations and schools may have to pay the majority of $4.3 billion worth of compensation to victims of child sexual abuse.

Lina Caneva | 3 February 2015 at 10:16 am


Child Abuse Victims Could Receive $4 Billion
3 February 2015 at 10:16 am

Australian churches, charitable organisations and schools may have to pay the majority of $4.3 billion worth of compensation to victims of child sexual abuse.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a consultation paper in Sydney over the weekend.

Justice Peter McClellan, the Chair of the Royal Commission, said the landmark report outlined models for a compensation scheme for victims,with private institutions such as churches, charities, schools or other organisations where children were abused likely to pay half of the multi-billion dollar compensation payment. 

State and Territory Governments would be left to pay $1.971 billion.

“Many institutions have acknowledged that their previous response to survivors has been inadequate,” McClellan said.

“The consultation paper includes the modelling that assumes 65,000 eligible survivors and average payments of $65,000. Based on these assumptions, the total cost of redress nationally would be in the order of $4.378 billion.”

McClellan said the the payments would be spread over a number of years.

“The actuarial model over ten years suggests, on these assumptions, the maximum cost in any one year is likely to be in the order of $650 million nationally. This would be funded by contributions from both governments and institutions,” he said.

“There are many considerations relevant to the appropriate money sum, including fairness and affordability. The consultation paper considers various options with a cap of $100,000, $150,000 or $200,000. These are used to assist an understanding of the situation. Of course, other options may be appropriate.

“I stress that no one should assume the Commissioners have a final view on any issue. We are seeking submissions which will help us to establish our views and provide recommendations which are just, practical and affordable.”

CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, which is coordinating the Catholic Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission, Francis Sullivan, welcomed the findings.

“The Commission has now fired the starting gun on developing a new way of providing fair and consistent redress for the survivors of child sexual abuse,” Sullivan said.

“A generous national redress scheme, funded by the institutions responsible for the abuse but led by the Australian Government is now broadly supported as the best option.

“For two years now we have watched as the Royal Commission has looked back, and in its own words, borne witness to the abuse of children in many different institutions.

“Now the Royal Commission is firmly focused on the future – how should survivors be treated, both financially and with practical support by the institutions in which they were abused and how, if a survivor wishes to sue, the legal system should deal with these cases.”

Written submissions responding to the consultation paper close on Monday 2 March 2015, and can be lodged at

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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