The Ministers’ Redress Scheme Governance Board (the Board) has reiterated its position that it is unacceptable for institutions that have the capacity to join the Scheme not to do so. The Board is committed to ensuring as many survivors of institutional child sexual abuse as possible can access redress.
Institutions named in the Royal Commission or named in an application received by the Scheme must provide a clear written statement setting out their intention to join the Scheme by no later than 30 June 2020. These institutions will be expected to join the Scheme as soon as possible, but no later than 31 December 2020. This additional period reflects the maximum time it takes to complete the on-boarding process and takes into account the changed capacity of many institutions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There are no excuses for institutions who have known for many months that they have been named in a redress application but have refused to join. If by 30 June 2020 an institution has failed to signify their intention to join the Scheme, they will immediately be publicly identified by the Scheme in accordance with Scheme legislation and jurisdictions will consider other appropriate action. This may include financial sanctions applied by state, territory or Commonwealth governments, and changes to an organisation's charitable status. Naming institutions is necessary to ensure that people wanting to access the Scheme know the status of relevant institutions.
Ministers have also agreed that, where the Scheme receives an application naming a previously unnamed non-participating institution after the 30 June 2020 deadline, the Scheme will contact the institution and the institution will be given six months to join. Should that institution fail to join the Scheme within the six months, then the institution will be publicly identified by the Scheme in accordance with Scheme legislation and jurisdictions may apply other appropriate sanctions. This provides certainty for survivors who were victims of abuse in an institution that has not yet been named, that they can lodge their application at a later date, whilst ensuring that organisations cannot drag out the process of joining, which causes yet more harm to survivors.
In addition, institutions that are already participating in the Scheme will be allowed to add additional institutions to their participating groups after the 30 June 2020 deadline.
These measures ensure as many survivors of institutional child sexual abuse as possible will have access to redress beyond 30 June 2020, whilst ensuring that those institutions that have failed in their duty to survivors by avoiding joining the Scheme are held to account.
Joining the Scheme shows strong organisational leadership and commitment to learning from the mistakes of the past. The Board calls on all relevant institutions to engage with the Scheme as soon as possible.