The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

$150,000 compensation for child abuse victims

VICTIMS of child sexual abuse committed at institutions such as schools and orphanages will be able to access up to $150,000 of compensation under a new federal government redress scheme announced on Friday.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced the scheme today and told reporters it would run for 10 years.

He said the federal government would lead the program and give states, territories and institutions the ability to opt-in.

A redress scheme was a major recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse in a report it released last year. 

"Because of the nature and impact of the abuse they suffered, many victims of child sexual abuse have not had the opportunity to seek compensation for their injuries that many Australians generally can take for granted," the report said.

In a statement announcing the scheme, Attorney-General George Brandis said the government acknowledged victims had been abandoned and betrayed by many institutions, including government ones.

He said the government had been working with states and territories for several months and would continue to work with them.  He said participation in the scheme could not be made compulsory. 

The redress scheme will be run on a 'responsible entity pays' basis and will launch in 2018.

Earlier this year, abuse victims also welcomed legislation changes in New South Wales that removed time limits on civil claims.

In August, Queensland announced plans to change its time limits on civil claims.

The royal commission continues, with the latest public hearings addressing schools' responses to allegations of problematic or harmful sexual behaviours by students.

Earlier this week, a former principal for Shalom Christian College in Townsville told the commission most students had been sexually abused before they came to the school. 

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