Failure to sign up to redress scheme should mean loss of charitable status: ALA

If an institution is named as being responsible for abuse and it chooses not to participate in the National Redress Scheme it should lose its charitable status, according to the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

Providing evidence yesterday to the Joint Select Committee on Implementation of the National Redress Scheme, Dr Andrew Morrison RFD SC said that 270 organisations are yet to sign up to the Scheme and there needs to be mechanism in place to persuade them to participate.

“We believe that the best way to achieve greater participation is to remove the charitable status of all organisations against whom a claim is made if they choose not to participate in the Scheme,” said Dr Andrew Morrison RFD SC, spokesperson for the ALA.

The ALA also told the inquiry that the compensation payments available to abuse survivors under the National Redress Scheme are inadequate and as a result many victims are choosing to pursue common law court claims instead of using the Scheme.

“The payment amounts within the Scheme are not adequate,” said Dr Morrison. “The Royal Commission recommended that the maximum redress payment available under the Scheme should be $200,000 however the maximum payment is $150,000.

“This amount is inadequate, it is arbitrary and does not relate to the degree of harm caused.

“If the Redress Scheme provided more adequate compensation many victims could have had their claims resolved via the Scheme with a great deal less cost, stress and time.”

Dr Morrison also reiterated the ALA’s ongoing concern that people who were abused as children in immigration detention are not entitled to access the Redress Scheme.

“We firmly believe that the only eligibility requirement should relate to having suffered abuse in an institution,” said Dr Morrison.

“As with any institutional abuse, it is the power of the institution over the individual that has created the opportunity for abuse of these children. It is absolutely unjust to restrict access to the scheme for people abused in immigration detention.”

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