Forgotten Australians (also known as “care leavers”), the estimated half a million children and young people who experienced institutional or other out-of-home care between 1928 and 1990, are set to benefit from a new redress scheme announced by the Victorian State Government.
Many Forgotten Australians were subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse whilst in orphanages, children’s homes and missions. They left that care not knowing who their family was. Many left care struggling with the scars and illnesses caused by the treatment they were subjected to and/or the neglect they experienced whilst in care. For many, the ramifications have remained with them and affected them for the remainder of their lives.
In 2004, a Federal Senate Committee tabled a report titled “Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children”. Out of the evidence given to the Committee from affected people, the reported noted that:
“The Committee considered that there has been wide scale unsafe, improper and unlawful care of children, a failure of duty of care, and serious and repeated breaches of statutory obligations.”
The proposed redress scheme is being set up to compliment and add to the National Redress Scheme which acknowledges, compensates, and administers apologies for children who were subjected to institutional childhood sexual abuse, a redress scheme that has been operating nationally since 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years.
The State Government announcement does not specify how the scheme will work, but it is expected that it will work similarly to the National Redress Scheme in how it determinates compensation payments and facilitates acknowledgements and apologies from those organisations that operated those responsible care facilities and services. Like the promised Forced Adoption redress scheme, victims can expect to be waiting a while before the scheme is active. However, victims suffering from hardship can apply for an early payment of up to $10,000.
With victims still waiting for the implementation of several recommendations from the Inquiry into Responses to Historical Forced Adoptions in Victoria, such as the removal of the legislated time limit for victims of bring court proceedings and the removal of the significant injury threshold to claim pain and suffering compensation, coupled with the advanced age of many victims, we urge the Government to prioritise the creation of the redress scheme. It can only add to the trauma for now-elderly victims if they do not obtain the recognition and acknowledgement of the harms that they have held for most of their lives.
If you have been injured due to being placed in institutional or out-of-home care, due to institutional childhood sexual abuse or due to forced adoption practices and want to know more about your compensation entitlements under these redress schemes or by bringing a separate claim, Longton Compensation Lawyers has the expertise to help. Contact one of our lawyers directly to discuss your experience and receive free advice about your options.
*Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice before taking any course of action.*
Special Counsel | Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialist VIC
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