Australia: A new Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

On 5 April 2019 the Australian Prime Minister announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The Commission has been established as there is significant body of evidence that people with disability are more likely to experience violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation than people without disability. For those of us working in this area of the law there is little doubt that this is indeed the case.

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Cardinal Pell’s appeal fails as convictions for child sex abuse are upheld

The Victoria Court of Appeal yesterday rejected the appeal by Cardinal Pell against his convictions for sexual abuse against two boys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

Pell was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2019 on foot of these convictions. He has and continues to maintain his innocence.

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Update on Redress in Australia

As readers of our blog will be aware the Australian National Redress Scheme opened for applications on the 1 July, 2018 and it will remain open for 10 years.

When the Government committed to establishing the National Redress Scheme (NRS) it was expected that there would be 60,000 to 65,000 applicants and that the redress payments and associated benefits would cost somewhere in the region of AUS$4.38 billion.

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Australia – more institutions join but redress is slow

The latest update from the National Redress Scheme (NRS) in Australia which was published last week advises that on 18 April 2019, the following institutions joined the Scheme:

  • Benedictine Community of New Norcia
  • Child and Family Services Ballarat (CAFS)
  • Scouts Tasmania
  • Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Schools

The fifth group of Anglican organisations have also joined, represented by Anglican Representative Limited. They are:

  • Anglican Diocese of Armidale
  • Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
  • Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta
  • Anglicare North Queensland
  • Anglicare Victoria

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IICSA announces a new investigation

A significant focus of the Royal Commission (RC)  in Australia in the national inquiry in connection with child abuse was religious organisations. Given the results of the RC and of other similar inquiries, it is not surprising that IICSA has announced an investigation looking at child abuse and religion, this being in addition to the two current investigations into abuse in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.

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The challenges of Redress

The provision of financial redress for victims and survivors of abuse is never easy and there is no system which is satisfactory to all. In a series of blogs to be published this week, we consider the latest schemes and update on how they are progressing.

A rally for survivors and their supporters took place in Melbourne on Sunday the 31 March 2019, amid calls for the National Redress Scheme (the scheme) to be changed.

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Update on the Australian National Redress Scheme

On the 19 June the Australian Parliament passed legislation to establish the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, ensuring the scheme can begin on 1 July 2018. Continue reading