For many years, allegations of sexual abuse of children in institutional contexts had been emerging in Australia. In 2012, the Australian Government announced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in response to those allegations.
The Final Report of the Royal Commission (2017) stated that tens of thousands of children had been sexually abused in a wide range of Australian institutions over decades and that survivors often experience lifelong and cumulative impacts which can affect any aspect of their lives.
In responding to the impact of sexual abuse on the mental health and psychological wellbeing of survivors, the Child Litigation and Redress Report (2015) of the Royal Commission recommended that counselling and psychological care should be supported through redress. It also recommended that support, counselling and psychological care should be trauma-informed, accessible and of high quality. In response, the Australian Government announced the establishment of a National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse to which States, Territories and non-government institutions have joined. The redress scheme includes a component of psychological counselling.
An Expert Reference Group (ERG) comprised of representation from a range of professional bodies, survivor organisations, carers and people with lived experiences, was established to provide advice on the development of resources and the Directory.
- Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
- Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN)
- Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA)
- Australian Psychological Society (APS)
- Blue Knot Foundation
- Department of Health
- Healing Foundation
- Occupational Therapy Australia (OT Australia)
- Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)
- Rape & Domestic Violence Service Australia
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)
In addition to engagement with the ERG, over 20 consultations were held across Australia with organisations representing and delivering services to those affected by institutional child sexual abuse.
The National Redress Scheme began on 1 July 2018. The scheme will provide support to people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of an institution.
For information and to apply, visit the National Redress Scheme website (https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/) or call the National Redress Information Line on 1800 146 713.