The Queensland Government has called “time’s up” for organisations which should have signed up to the National Redress Scheme.
Non-Government institutions against whom claims of child sexual abuse have been made had until 30 June, to sign up to the scheme.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer, said that she had made it clear from the very start of the scheme, that the Queensland Government would not tolerate institutions, at which child sexual abuse previously occurred in Queensland, failing to take responsibility.
“Until the institutions responsible for this abuse sign up to the National Redress Scheme, survivors cannot get the closure, acknowledgement, and recompense, they need and deserve.
“The survivors of these institutions were abused in the most dreadful way, by the very people who were supposed to look after them. For too many years most of them have suffered in silence, because talking about it caused trauma all over again, or there was simply no-one to tell,” she said.
Minister Farmer said that Queensland had a strong record of supporting survivors of historic institutional child sexual abuse, whose lives have been forever damaged.
“That is why, very early on in the life of the scheme I contacted every organisation we thought likely to be liable, to let them know very clearly the Queensland Government’s views.
“While for many this was new territory, many organisations quickly took responsibility and signed up.
“Some were slower to meet their obligations, and I pay tribute to the officers of the Queensland Government departments who have worked tirelessly with organisations to help them meet their obligations, so the life-long struggle, disadvantage, and pain of survivors can be recognised and better understood.
“Because of that hard work and advocacy, there is less than a handful of Queensland organisations yet to sign up to the Scheme, and some have only very recently become aware of their obligations,” she said.
Minister Farmer said that the Queensland Government understands there are some large national organisations, not based in Queensland but who nonetheless operated in Queensland and we believe have responsibilities to Queensland survivors, have still not opted in, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“We say to those organisations that their failure to provide closure and concrete help to survivors is not acceptable in Queensland or anywhere else. This refusal to show moral leadership is entirely at odds with what any reasonable person would consider the values of a decent society.
“Organisations refusing to support abuse survivors should not expect support from the Queensland Government. They should expect that ongoing refusal to participate will harm their reputation and standing in the community, and that Governments will actively consider sanctions.
“It is not too late for them to do right by survivors and join the Scheme”, she said.
“Our active engagement with these institutions will continue until they sign on the dotted line.”
The deadline for these organisations to complete the administrative processes to get on board has been extended by six months.