Redress option an important win for Retta Dixon survivors

27 August 2021
Lawyers for abuse survivors have welcomed this week’s announcement that Darwin’s notorious Retta Dixon Home will now be covered by the National Redress Scheme.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn says the Federal Government becoming the so-called “funder of last resort” for any Retta Dixon redress payments was an important step for survivors.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Heather Kerley said:

“The abuse that took place against children at Retta Dixon was horrific, but until now many survivors have not been able to access justice for what happened to them.

“In our work with survivors, we know that accessing compensation via the National Redress Scheme is an important way for many to secure a form of justice.

“While no amount of money will ever take away the trauma of abuse, redress can be a step in the healing process, and provide an acknowledgement of the harm that occurred.

“We welcome the news that Retta Dixon is now part of the redress scheme, and congratulate the many survivors and their supporters who have advocated for this over many years.”

Ms Kerley said while many survivors would benefit from access to redress, she noted the scheme was still out of step with some key recommendations of the Royal Commission.

These included a cap on the maximum amount payable under the scheme at $150,000, when the Royal Commission recommended $200,000, as well as significant differences in allocations for counselling and other support services.

“The national redress scheme is a vitally important step for many survivors – including those from Retta Dixon – in seeking access to justice, and it is critical that all relevant organisations support and join the scheme,” she said.

“But there is still work to be done to improve the scheme to ensure it can genuinely assist all survivors as intended.”

Ms Kerley said that in addition to redress, survivors may also want to seek advice about other legal options available, as well as the process required for applying under both the National Redress Scheme for child sexual abuse and the Stolen Generations Redress Scheme.

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