Uniting Church responds to review of Redress
The Uniting Church has welcomed new recommendations to improve the National Redress Scheme arising out of a two-year independent review of the Scheme, released by the Minister for Families and Social Services Senator Anne Ruston.
Many of the recommendations in the report focus on improving experience for survivors participating in the Scheme after the review identified that rapid reforms were needed to ensure the Scheme remains accessible, efficient, and survivor-centered.
“We welcome recommendations aimed at improving the experience of the Scheme for survivors of abuse”, said Sarah Lim, National Director of UCA Redress Ltd.
“The Church particularly welcomes recommendations aimed at increasing awareness of the National Redress Scheme amongst particular cohorts, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disabilities, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”
“Participating in the Redress Scheme should not cause further harm or trauma to survivors. We hope that these recommendations will lead to greater transparency around decision making and streamline administration processes.”
The review has made 38 recommendations after meeting with 81 survivors, support services, government agencies and ministers, and receiving 226 submissions between late 2020 and early 2021. A further 503 submissions were received via a feedback study.
“We welcomed the opportunity to provide a written submission and the opportunity to meet with the reviewer, and look forward to continuing to work with the Government as it implements and reviews these recommendations.”
A key change recommended by the review was to grant access to advance payments for survivors of historical abuse who are elderly or ill and at risk of dying before their application can be assessed.
Other recommendations include reviewing eligibility for prisoners to access the Scheme, improvements aimed at increasing the take up of Direct Personal Responses from institutions, and greater support for applicants through the application process.
Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer said the ongoing engagement of the UCA in the National Redress Scheme is an expression of its full commitment to healing and justice for survivors of abuse.
“The occurrence of abuse in our institutions is a very sad part of our history. We are deeply sorry for the terrible breach of trust and the circumstances in which children were abused in our care. We do not hide from it but actively learn from it,” Dr Palmer said. “The Uniting Church is committed to ensuring our communities are safe, compassionate and respectful places in which all people can flourish.”
The Australian Government has released an interim response to the review, indicating support for 25 out of 38 recommendations. The remaining recommendations will be the subject of consultations with stakeholders including survivors and institutions.
If you have any questions about UCA Redress or the Uniting Church’s participation in the National Redress Scheme, please phone 1800 411 739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the UCA redress website https://ucaredress.org.au/