Government response to National Redress Scheme review welcomed

A review of the National Redress Scheme, commissioned by the federal government, has today been released by Social Services Minister, Anne Ruston.

Blue Knot Foundation has publicly welcomed the response, with a special thank you to independent reviewer Robyn Kruk.

Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation, explains their stance.

“It is time that the Scheme reflected the Royal Commission and its processes, spirit, depth of understanding, equity and fairness. There have been improvements to the Scheme over time, but implementing these recommendations – if implemented in full – will go a long way to making this the sort of Scheme that the Royal Commission envisaged.

It is positive to see twenty-five of the thirty-eight recommendations accepted and the others, many requiring legislative change and review by State and Territory governments as well as the federal governments, still under consideration.

It is noted that the government will respond fully in early 2022 – this timeframe must be expedited; the third anniversary for the scheme is fast-approaching. Survivors have waited too long since the Royal Commission for the Scheme that they were promised – one which is truly survivor-focussed.

The proposed changes must simplify the application process and, crucially, speed it up. A review of the assessment matrix and greater transparency around this is critical. The current matrix is ill-conceived, ill-informed and its behind the scenes application is traumatising.

The advance payment to older applicants and those with terminal illness is welcomed, as is consideration of equity for all survivors applying. These recommendations also provide more robust and ongoing trauma-informed and culturally sensitive support & counselling from better-trained practitioners and services – as well as support for Direct Personal Response process.

Training and quality improvement processes for Independent Decision Makers are a must. Decisions must be fair, equitable and informed by current knowledge of institutional child sexual abuse.

Enhancements to scheme staff, around workforce including recruitment, training, supervision and support are long overdue.The Scheme must deliver the empathy and compassion all survivors desperately need and deserve and wellbeing for all staff.

It is over time to rebuild trust and show that the institution of government is truly there for survivors.

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