EQUITY and access issues continue to plague the National Redress Scheme, according to evidence from survivors from a range of institutions.
At what was the last public hearing on Monday, the Joint Select Committee on Implementation of the National Redress Scheme heard from a survivor who has been denied redress because the named institution has refused to participate in the scheme.
Deputy chair of the committee and Federal Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said no survivors should be left without avenue for redress and there were a range of reasons why people did not want to pursue civil litigation.
"The survivor has challenged the committee to consider ways the Commonwealth could act as a unconditional funder of last resort whilst preventing recalcitrant institutions from getting off scot free," Ms Claydon said.
"Survivors have waited all their lives for redress, they should not be forced to wait any longer."
Submissions are still being received ahead of the preparation of a second interim report, expected to be tabled in the last week of November. That report will focus on key areas such as ongoing survivor experience, decision-making frameworks and processes, legal advice for survivors, scheme participation and responses to the first interim report.
The National Redress Scheme was established by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for survivors to access counselling, an acknowledgment and apology from the institution and a payment of up to $150,000.
As at the start of September, the redress scheme had received 11,835 applications, and made 6,208 payments totalling more than $529.3 million. A two-year review of the scheme has previously recommended making the government the funder of last resort in cases where the institution is defunct or does not have the financial means to join the scheme.
But that did not extend to institutions that could join and have chosen not to.
"The whole point of the National Redress Scheme was to be able to afford survivors with a pathway other than going down civil litigation and the royal commission was very clear about this," Ms Claydon said.
A review of the scheme offering compensation to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse earlier this year called for a reset of the program.
It recommended 38 changes after finding the process to be traumatising, complex and confronting for survivors, 25 of which the government agreed to.
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