26 June 2020

Member for Northern Victoria, Tania Maxwell MP is calling on the Victorian Government to deny funding and grants to organisations that fail to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for institutional sexual abuse survivors.

Ms Maxwell said the State and Federal Governments needed to take swift and clear action on organisations that continued to elude their accountability, and that the Federal Government should trigger the cancellation of charitable tax exemptions for institutions that refuse to sign up to the Redress Scheme.

Ms Maxwell said she was increasingly doubtful that the Redress Scheme in its current form would deliver meaningful acknowledgement and accountability for survivors.

Ms Maxwell has been advocating to the Victorian Attorney General’s office and the Federal Minister for Social Services for more than a year on behalf of survivors and said the scheme needed a further overhaul to stop adding more trauma to survivors.

Derryn Hinch was Chair of the Federal Joint Select Committee that in 2018 recommended an overhaul of the Redress Scheme and substantive legislative changes across Federal, State and Territory governments.  This included penalties such as withdrawal of charitable status and the suspension of tax exemptions and concessions for institutions that refused to sign up to the scheme.

Ms Maxwell said that her work with survivors and support groups across Northern Victoria had highlighted inconsistencies with judgements and redress offers that were adding more trauma to the lives of those who had been abused as young children in institutional settings.

Ms Maxwell said governments needed to address the structure of offers to survivors, including inconsistent offers for similar claims of abuse, as well as the recommendation from 2018 to increase the redress maximum payment from $150,000 to $200,000.

Ms Maxwell said the more than 40 organisations that are yet to sign up should be ashamed and face significant penalties.  The Federal Government has previously said it would name and shame organisations that failed to sign up to the scheme.

Quotes by Tania Maxwell MP

“The Redress Scheme in its current form is not delivering meaningful acknowledgement and accountability for survivors of sexual abuse in Australian institutions.”

“Is it any wonder survivors tell me they feel that organisations just continue to wait for them to die rather than acknowledge and account for the devastating abuse to them?”