The Greens welcome news the Federal Government will provide the $33.4 million as the Commonwealth’s contribution to the national redress scheme for victims of institutionalised sexual abuse. This was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The $33.4 million is the Federal Government’s contribution for abuse perpetrated in Commonwealth institutions, but the Royal Commission’s recommendations also ask for State contributions for abuse in State ‘care’.
The Tasmanian Government must also be an active participant in any national scheme of redress for survivors of childhood abuse. We hope the Hodgman Liberals will follow their Canberra colleagues’ lead and provide redress funding in the State Budget.
Tasmanian survivors who presented to the Royal Commission told harrowing stories of their suffering at the hands of Church authority figures who grossly abused their trust, causing lifelong harm.
The State Government has not yet made a commitment to contributing towards a redress scheme for Tasmanians who were abused, although credit to Attorney General, Vanessa Goodwin, for moving to end the civil claim limitation period for abuse survivors to seek damages, to be in legislation we expect to be tabled this year.
Tasmania commenced a Claims of Abuse in State care Program in July 2003, which over a decade paid more than 1,800 ex-gratia payments totaling almost $55 million. This scheme assisted Tasmanians who were abused in state care only.
Tasmanians who suffered abuse outside the state care system have never been formally acknowledged or compensated. The Greens included the State’s contribution in our Alternative Budget last year.
This is about access to justice for Tasmanians who suffered at the hands of people who abused their trust. We hope to see the Hodgman Government begin to redress the abuse in the State Budget in a fortnight.