Thousands of survivors of institutional child sexual abuse waiting for redress will benefit from a $15m investment to recruit more staff.
The federal government says the investment will ensure the National Redress Scheme is properly resourced, and able to process the more than 20,000 applications that have been made in the schemes’ four year life span.
Only around 11,000 of those claims have been finalised, prompting widespread criticism for being slow and re-traumatising those impacted.
With an average of 776 applications per month being lodged since March this year – up from an average of 307 per month in the three years prior – Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the victim-survivors deserved to have their claims processed “in a timely way”.
“No one should have to wait any longer than necessary to gain both emotional and practical support – and importantly – full resolution of a claim. Victim-survivors have already suffered enough,” she said.
“The targeted investment will directly address the significant increase in applications, and make sure they are advanced as quickly as possible.”
Ms Rishworth said the previous government had not been committed to resourcing the scheme.
“The former government did not give victim-survivors or this scheme the attention it deserved,” she said.
The scheme was established in response to recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.
Those who lodge an application can receive redress through access to counselling, a redress payment, or a direct personal response.
The maximum amount offered by the scheme is $150,000.
Ms Rishworth said application processing times varied due to individual circumstances.
Around the country, there are 45 registered redress support services, and more than 600 institutions have signed up for the scheme.
The government will issue a full, transparent and final response to all 38 recommendations of a review of the scheme by early next year.