Due to commence on 1 July, the national redress scheme will accept applications for compensation from survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
The applications will be independently assessed on a case-by-case basis, and prior to the acceptance of any offer made, survivors will be able to access independent legal advice funded under the scheme.
Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the new laws were a long time coming for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
“These reforms are a key part of ensuring that survivors of institutional child sexual abuse receive the recognition, respect and support they deserve,” Mr Pakula said.
“It is now time for Victorian churches, charities and other non-government organisations to sign-up to the scheme. Survivors have waited long enough.”
The AG’s statement noted that Victoria was one of the first states to sign up to the national scheme, adding that the Victorian bill would pave the way for churches, charities and other non-government organisations operating in Victoria to participate.
Federal laws will first have to be passed before the scheme comes into effect, being one of the key reforms in the Commonwealth’s response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Betrayal of Trust Report.
The Commonwealth Department of Human Services will operate the scheme once it is established.
Victoria’s National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2018 was part of larger efforts to reform sexual offence laws in the state, the Attorney-General said.
In recent years, Victoria’s Labor government created new laws to quash unfair legal loopholes preventing survivors from suing some organisations for their abuse, the statement said.
“We have also abolished civil claim time limits to allow lawsuits to be lodged regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, and we introduced an Australian-first ‘duty of care’ for organisations exercising care, supervision or authority over children,” the statement said.