Survivor Roundtable

The National Redress Scheme Survivor Roundtable (the Roundtable) is hosted by the Minister for Social Services. Participants include survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and their advocates. The Roundtable gives them the opportunity to advise on performance and operational issues affecting the survivor’s journey with the Scheme. The Roundtable forms part of the Scheme’s formal governance arrangements and is included in the Inter-Governmental Agreement.

There have been six Roundtables held to date. The most recent, hosted by the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth, was held in Perth on 6 March 2024. Read more about the event in the National Redress Scheme Update from 26 March 204.

The Scheme is grateful for the engagement of all who attended, for those who generously shared their experiences of the Scheme, and to those who bravely spoke about their stories. Roundtable attendees came from many backgrounds including members of the Stolen Generations, former child migrants and care leavers (Forgotten Australians).

These valuable contributions were insightful and will be used to inform future operational and processing matters for the Scheme. The next Roundtable is being planned for the second half of 2024.

Questions and answers from the Perth Roundtable are listed below, sorted into the below topics:

Operational questions about the National Redress Scheme

1. Why does the Scheme require applicants to give up their common law rights to civil action?

The Redress Act states that an applicant who accepts a redress offer will be required to sign a document which releases any institutions found responsible for abuse in an application. The practical effect of the relevant sections of the Redress Act is that an applicant cannot ‘double dip’ in respect of abuse perpetrated by the same institution.

If an applicant has already received a civil settlement from an institution and then also apply for redress, the monetary sum of the civil settlement will likely be considered a relevant prior payment. If that applicant receives an offer of redress, any monetary amount would be reduced by the civil sum.

2. If you have received an advance payment of redress but decide to pursue a civil claim instead, do you have to pay back the advance payment?

An applicant will only have to repay the advance payment amount if they withdraw their application or if they are subsequently found to be ineligible.

3. Will the Scheme end in 2028 as scheduled?

Yes, and applications are able to be submitted until 30 June 2027. Any decision to extend the Scheme would be a matter for the Commonwealth Government, in consultation with all state and territory governments.

This will be informed by the scheduled 8-year review of the Scheme.

4. Why isn’t the full statement of reasons provided?

From 2 April 2024, Independent Decision Makers are using a new statement of reasons template which will mean that applicants will, by default, receive a full, redacted statement of reasons.

Prior to 2 April 2024, an applicant could also request their full statement of reasons by lodging a written administrative release request.

5. How can we stay better connected with the National Redress Scheme?

One of the best ways to stay in touch with the Scheme is to subscribe for monthly updates. You can do this at: Australian Government (


6. What is the penalty for non-compliant institutions if it’s not a charity?

Institutions named in an application that fail to join the Scheme within six months of first contact by the Scheme may be subject to consequences. These consequences include:

  • Public naming and associated reputational damage.
  • Loss of future access to Commonwealth and State grant funding
  • Loss of charitable tax status

7. What happens if an institution named in an application is not a participating institution?

When an institution is named in an application for the first time, its ability to participate and meet its obligations is assessed through a research process undertaken by the Scheme. The Scheme contacts the institution to advise that it has been named in an application and then the Scheme commences the onboarding process.

Where an institution has been named in an application, this may result in it participating fully, partly, or participating through Funder of Last Resort provisions. These provisions apply where an institution no longer exists or does exist but lacks the financial resources to participate.

Direct Personal Response (DPR)

8. How many people are accessing their DPR?

Around 200 people per year are accessing their Direct Personal Response. Applicants who receive an offer of redress and accept the DPR component can commence their DPR at any time prior to the end of the Scheme.

This number is less than the amount of applicants who indicate that they would like a DPR as part of their redress offer.

The Scheme supports applicants to commence and engage with their DPR through the Scheme’s DPR Information and Support Service or through Redress Support Services.

Independent Decision Makers (IDM)

9. i) How are IDMs selected?

IDM are recruited through various methods, including a nomination by state and territory governments. A panel comprised of Department of Social Services (DSS) senior executives selects IDMs based on specific selection criteria, and individuals are screened for suitability. The Scheme Operator then makes a determination on whether to engage an IDM under subsection 185(1) of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018. State and territory governments are provided the opportunity to support or identify concerns prior to engagement of an IDM.

ii) What training do they receive?

The Scheme provides intensive induction training to IDMs and ongoing support is delivered through standardised practices, including task cards and on-going training sessions. IDMs also attend ad-hoc training sessions and workshops throughout the course of their engagement.

Redress Support Services

10. How are Redress Support Services (RSS) selected and trained?

RSS play a critical role in providing practical and emotional support for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse and who wish to apply for redress through the Scheme.

In September 2021, DSS conducted an open competitive selection process (grant opportunity) to deliver services from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2024. Grant extensions for a further three years are currently in progress.

RSS workers receive training from the Scheme in addition to their professional qualifications in fields such as counselling and social work. RSS are required to demonstrate that they have a program of professional development, training and wellbeing supports for their redress staff, with updates provided to the Scheme annually.

Counselling and Psychological Care

11. Why does each state offer different counselling services?

The provision of trauma-informed counselling is an important element of redress Scheme. All applicants that receive an offer of redress under the Scheme are provided with access to counselling and psychological care, if they choose it.

This component of a redress offer is delivered by state and territory governments, The delivery arrangements are a matter for each government, subject to the minimum standards set out in the Inter-Governmental Agreement.

12. Cross jurisdictional issues are causing barriers for people who reside outside the states or territories in which they were abused. What is being done to streamline this process?

States and territories have arrangements in place for people to access counselling and psychological care where an application relates to abuse incurred in another jurisdiction.

Affected applicants who have accepted an offer of counselling and psychological care in Western Australia (WA) should contact the WA Redress Co-ordination Unit at the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime.

Response to outstanding questions from the Survivor Roundtable

The Scheme is continuing to work on responses to the further questions and issues raised at the Survivor Roundtable on 6 March 2024.