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In March 2024, an amendment bill passed Australian Parliament, with significant updates for the National Redress Scheme (NRS) for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. 

We welcome these updates as they will expand access to justice for survivors across Australia.

It’s important to understand your options before commencing any legal claims. Our expert team have experience working on child abuse claims and can help you decide on the best legal pathway.

We’ve outlined the key changes from the amendments below:

Applications made from prison

Survivors who are currently in prison will now be able to apply for the National Redress Scheme.

Previously survivors, for the most part, could not apply while they were in prison.

This change means survivors can pursue their Redress claims sooner, access supports while in prison (health and Redress supports) and potentially have financial compensation to assist upon their release.

Criminal convictions

Previously, any survivors who had been sentenced to 5 or more years imprisonment for a single offence could only access the National Redress Scheme via a special assessment process. This process will now only apply to survivors who have been sentenced to 5 years or more imprisonment for one of the following offences:

  • Unlawful killing
  • A sexual offence
  • A terrorism offence

This change increases access to justice for survivors as it widens the scope of people who can apply to the NRS.

This change also recognises academic research that suggests a link between adverse childhood experiences, and offending and incarceration.

Review process

The review processes will change to allow new information to be provided as part of a request for review of a decision, and will be considered by a new assessor.

This is a very welcomed change which ensures greater fairness for survivors, as survivors often are unable to tell their story in full the first time that they discuss their abuse.

In addition, some survivors may apply to NRS on their own and may not fully understand what is needed for their application. This enables them to obtain support and provide any necessary additional information to support their application.

Changes to “protected information” disclosure

The National Redress Scheme will allow information about non-participating institutions to be shared with survivors who have named the institution in their applications. They will also be able to share protected information with public trustees, and institutions within the same participating group will be able to share information to conduct internal investigations.

This change promotes transparency and better facilitates access to justice for a survivor if NRS is not a viable option.

Re-assessment of claims

If a relevant named institution joins the scheme after an application has been finalised, the application can be re-assessed so that the survivors are not disadvantaged. This may also mean that compensation may be higher.

It’s important that you seek legal advice before commencing any legal claim, as there are considerations for different options that may be available to you.

Our expert team is here to help. Contact us today for a confidential discussion.

Our team of experienced abuse lawyers are here to help. You are not alone. 

If you or someone you love is a survivor of childhood abuse, we are here to support you and get the justice you deserve. 

It doesn't cost you anything to know where you stand 

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We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.

We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.