Almost 900 survivors of abuse are now on a waiting list to receive compensation. Picture: AAP
Almost 900 survivors of abuse are now on a waiting list to receive compensation. Picture: AAP

Sex abuse victims ‘on hold’ for compo

HUNDREDS of victims of child sex abuse are "on hold" waiting for institutions to sign up to a national redress scheme before they can receive compensation.

Just 51 survivors have received compensation since the scheme opened in July 2018 out of a total of 2728 people to sign up.

That's just 2 per cent of the 60,000 survivors that the royal commission estimated may apply for compensation.

They have received a total of $4 million so far with the average payment about $79,035 and some receiving the maximum payment of $150,000.

Catholic Cardinal George Pell is seen leaving the County Court in Melbourne today. Picture: AAP
Catholic Cardinal George Pell is seen leaving the County Court in Melbourne today. Picture: AAP


But almost 900 survivors of abuse are now on a waiting list to receive compensation because the institutions they suffered in have yet to sign up to the redress scheme.

Others are waiting for a decision to be made on their case.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher is expected to name and shame institutions that have yet to sign up to the scheme.

It comes as Cardinal George Pell today became the most senior member of the Catholic Church to be convicted of a child sex abuse crime worldwide.

Department of Social Services boss Kathryn Campbell will write to the lagging institutions shortly warning them they will be publicly named, and will ask others about their time frame.

"Rather than say, 'You need to join,' we need to give them time to understand what's happening," she told a Senate estimates hearing last week.

 

Families and Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher.
Families and Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher.

 

 

Australia's most senior Catholic Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of child sex crimes. Picture: AAP
Australia's most senior Catholic Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of child sex crimes. Picture: AAP

 

"They may not have even thought that they were going to be captured by this process, so we are going through a process with them to help them, as best they can, meet their obligations here."

Another official told the hearing that some potential applicants were likely waiting until the institution that they want to make an application to has signed onto the redress scheme.

"That is certainly something we've heard from stakeholders, 'I'll make my application when the institution comes on board,' because otherwise the application has to sit there," she said.

"We have, of course, done a certain amount of communication out through support services et cetera.

"But we are still looking at additional communications in case there are people who haven't heard about the scheme or haven't had the opportunity to consider their ability to apply under the scheme."

Federal Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said the news that someone of Pell's seniority within the Catholic Church had been convicted of child sex abuse was "deeply disturbing".

"My first thoughts, however, are with the survivors who showed genuine courage to come forward," he told News Corp.

"Nothing will ever make things right for those victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, however, the National Redress Scheme is intended to go some way towards acknowledging their suffering and providing support moving forward."

He said the government was progressing claims "as quickly and sensitively as possible".

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan today indicated the government wasn't open to lifting the cap on payments under the redress scheme.

"Changing the amount or varying the amount unfortunately isn't going to take away people's pain," Mr Keenan told Sky News.

"It can only ever be part of the solution. It's an acknowledgment of the horrible things that happened to people."



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