The Federal Government has presented a bill that appears to redress current child sex abuse laws. The new bill, should it be approved, will allow victims of child sex abuse in Territory and Commonwealth institutions to be entitled for up to $150,000 in the form of compensation. Some of these new bill’s policies however excludes victims that have had served time in jail.
According to ABC Australia, Christian Porter of Social Services said this redress bill follows claims that the response towards child abuse has been “inadequate.” Porter, also Minister of Social Services, addressed the House of Representatives and elaborated on a few facts.
He said there were about 4,000 institutions all across the country with cases of abuse towards children. Of these:
- 250 Salvation Army institutions
- 500 Anglican Church institutions
- 2,000 Catholic institutions
He added that 20,000 victims may have been abused in institutions run by government, and 40,000 more in facilities run by non-government institutions.
“No child should ever experience what we know occurred,” he said. Porter added the mere fact that these happened in institutions was a form of betrayal to the trust the children had to the government that should have protected them.
More Terms, Exclusion Policies
However, the bill also excludes anyone that has been convicted of sexual offences or have been sentenced to prison for terms of five years and above. This also doesn’t apply to criminals of things such as homicide, fraud, or serious drugs.
Porter said to exclude survivors of sexual abuse was “agonising” but the government had to set boundaries. He added there were numerous sessions of consultations with attorneys-general of the jurisdictions that were involved before the decision was made.
Some organizations condemned what appears to be the selective inclusion. Care Leavers Network (CLAN) was one of those groups. Its CEO, Leonie Sheedy, said everybody should get some form of compensation.
Regardless, the government will have to put pressure on territories and states to join the scheme. The $150,000 cap is to maximize organizations, bodies, and states that are open to join the scheme.