‘Just not acceptable’: Victorian government threatens to blacklist organisations not signed up to sexual abuse redress scheme
22 April 2020 at 2:33 pm
Nearly 50 Victorian non-government organisations are yet to sign up to the scheme
Victorian organisations not signed up to the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse survivors by 30 June risk losing their government funding, under tough new state government sanctions.
The scheme, launched in 2018, offers eligible abuse survivors a redress payment of up to $150,000, access to psychological counselling, and a direct personal response – such as an apology – from the responsible institution.
At the end of January, the scheme had received over 6,000 redress applications, and 1,367 had been finalised.
But there are over 500 applications on hold because the institution named in the application is not yet participating in the scheme.
To date, there are 49 non-government operating organisations in Victoria yet to sign up to the scheme. Around half of those organisations receive some form of government funding.
These institutions include non-government schools, community, youth and family services, religious entities and sport and recreation entities.
Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said refusing to sign up was “just not acceptable”.
“It is deeply disappointing that institutions which have the capacity to join the scheme and have had ample time since being notified of their potential redress liability have not done so,” Hennessy said.
Hennessy told the ABC that blacklisting would only affect new funding arrangements, and was about holding organisations to account that did have the financial capacity to pay but had not taken the responsibility.
“We’re not going to go and disrupt the way in which services are delivered, particularly to vulnerable people, but we are not going to reward those that have got the capacity to pay but fail to finally take responsibility for the tawdry and tragic history of sexual abuse in their organisations,” she said.
Care Leavers Australasia Network CEO Leonie Sheedy, a long-time advocate for survivors, told Pro Bono News that the new measures were long overdue.
She said it was disappointing that it would take a threat from the Victorian Attorney General for the remaining organisations to sign up to the scheme.
“Where is their moral compass? They wouldn’t want these crimes to have occurred to their own children,” Sheedy said.
Joining the scheme is voluntary, and institutions can only join if they can fulfil obligations such as being financially capable to pay redress.
But Sheedy said they shouldn’t be given that option.
“They should never, ever have been given an option to join into the scheme in the first place, it should have been mandatory,” she said.
“We’ve got people who are dying while they’re waiting.”
Large charities such as Anglicare, Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Salvation Army and YMCA Australia are among some of the organisations that have agreed to sign up to the redress scheme.
A full list of organisations not signed up to the scheme can be found here.
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