What happens next?

When the National Redress Scheme team receives your application they will give you a call to let you know they have it. At that time they may also ask you for more information if they need it.

An Independent Decision Maker will consider your application for redress. The assessment may take some time to complete. You may want to think about who could give you some support if you need it. This could be someone you already know and trust or Redress Support Services can help.  You may also want to think about these steps during this time.

Waiting while your application is considered by an Independent Decision Maker

An Independent Decision Maker will consider your application. They are highly experienced people from a range of backgrounds. They do not have any connection to participating institutions.

The National Redress Scheme provides support to the Independent Decision Maker, by:

  • keeping your information safe.
  • asking you for more information when needed.
  • sending some information from your application to the institution. The application explains what information will be shared with the institution. They will send your name, date of birth and the description of the abuse and its impact.
  • asking the institution(s) relevant to your application for more information, including their records of the time you were there or if you have received a prior payment. Institution(s) have 8 weeks to provide this information to the National Redress Scheme. If you are ill or elderly they will have 4 weeks to respond.
  • contacting the Police or child protection authorities if they believe there is a risk of ongoing abuse, based on the information in your application. Someone from the National Redress Scheme will contact you to let you know if there is a need to report the abuse.

The Independent Decision Maker is the person that decides if a person can access redress under the Scheme, and if so, what redress the institution(s) needs to make. To do this, the Independent Decision Maker considers all the information provided in your application and by the institution(s). If they determine that the events are likely to have happened, then an offer of redress will be made.

The time to assess every application will be different, depending on the circumstances. 

While your application is being considered, please contact the National Redress Scheme on 1800 737 377 if:

  • your contact details change
  • you want to add more information or change your application — you can do this at any time up until the Independent Decision Maker makes a determination on your application

You can withdraw your application any time up until a determination on your application is made.

Receiving the Offer Letter

The National Redress Scheme will call you and send you a letter about the outcome of your application. If your application for redress is approved, you will receive an offer letter. The offer letter will:

  • explain the three components of redress counselling, a Redress payment and a direct personal response
  • specify the amount of redress payment
  • explain whether you will receive access to counselling and psychological services, or a payment to allow you to access those services privately (and if so, the amount of that payment)
  • specify the participating institution(s) found responsible (and if applicable, not responsible) for providing redress
  • specify if any responsible institution(s) is part of a participating group, and if so, who their associates are
  • explain how the direct personal response from the institution(s) can be arranged (if you wish to do this). When you are ready you can contact the institution(s) to begin the direct personal response process, you can request this at any time during the life of the National Redress Scheme
  • explain the effect of accepting an offer, that is, that you will be releasing responsible participating institution(s), their officials, and any associates, from civil liability
  • provide information about free and confidential legal and financial services that can help you consider the offer
  • explain how to accept or decline the offer, request an extension to the acceptance period, or seek a review of the decision, and
  • provide the date when you need to tell the National Redress Scheme about your decision to accept or decline the offer

Deciding whether to accept or decline an offer

The National Redress Scheme team will call you and send you a letter about the outcome of your application.

Accepting an offer

To accept an offer of redress, you or your legal nominee need to sign and return the acceptance document. This needs to be done within 6 months of the date on the offer letter. You can ask for an extension.

A reminder will be sent to you when you have 30 days left to accept an offer.

The acceptance document will:

  • say which parts of the offer you want, and
  • have a legally binding agreement saying that you will take no further civil action against the responsible institution, its officials and any institutions it is associated with. This does not include the person or people that abused you. It is recommended that you get free and confidential legal advice from knowmore before signing the acceptance document. This service will help you understand the options available to you. You can contact knowmore on 1800 605 762 or by visiting the knowmore website.

If you accept, someone from the National Redress Scheme will call you. They will confirm your bank account details. They will provide contact details for the responsible institution to arrange a direct personal response.

How do I get an extension for the acceptance period?

You need to contact the Scheme within the 6-month acceptance period if you require an extension because of exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances may include if:

  • You are very ill during the acceptance period; or
  • You live in a remote community where there has been a delay in transit of letters.

Declining an offer

You can decline an offer by writing to the National Redress Scheme and letting them know, or you can do nothing.

If you do not accept the offer for redress within 6 months, it is assumed that you have declined.

If you decline your offer you will not be able to apply to the National Redress Scheme again.

Asking for a review

If you do not agree with the outcome you can request a review. You need to apply for a review within 6 months of the date of the letter explaining the outcome.

A different Independent Decision Maker from the one who made the original decision will do the review. You will not be able to provide additional information.

The new Independent Decision Maker may keep the original decision or make a new decision. This means your offer could stay the same, it may be more or it may be less.  It may also result in a different decision about your eligibility.

The Independent Decision Maker will write to you to let you know the outcome of the review.

  • If an offer you were originally made is confirmed, you will have an extra 2 months to consider whether to accept or decline the offer.
  • If a different offer is made the previous offer will be withdrawn.
  • If a new or different offer is made you will have 6 months to consider this offer.

Institutions cannot request a review of redress decisions.

Words used on this page

Application
The application is available online or by paper. You can make an application at any time between now and 30 June 2027.
Counselling
People can apply for this as part of the National Redress Scheme. Depending on where people live they will receive a lump sum to pay for services in their local area or a referral to services.
Direct Personal Response (DPR)
People who receive an offer of redress can request a Direct Personal Response. This could be a face-to-face meeting, either individually or in a group, a written letter, a public apology, or other arrangements. Not all institutions will be able to meet every type of request.
Independent Decision Maker
Independent Decision makers will consider applications for redress. They will be highly experienced people from a range of backgrounds. They will not have any connection to participating institutions.
Institution
An institution means an organisation, such as a school, a church, parish, mission, a club, an orphanage or Children’s Home; or government department.
Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
When the child sexual abuse occurred, for example, on the premises of an institution, or where activities of an institution took place (such as a camp), or by an official of an institution.
Legal Nominee
A person who can apply for and accept an offer of redress on your behalf. For example, a power of attorney. They need to fill in the Redress Nominee Form.
National Redress Scheme
The Australian Government set up the National Redress Scheme to provide redress to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. The offer of redress can include: access to counselling, a redress payment and a direct personal response.
Nominee
A person nominated to act on behalf of a person applying for redress. They need to fill in the Redress Nominee Form.
Redress
Redress means acknowledging harm done. The National Redress Scheme will provide redress by providing access to counselling, a direct personal response and a redress payment.
Review
If you do not agree with a decision we make, you can ask us to look at it again. This is done by a different Independent Decision Maker.
Scheme
The National Redress Scheme for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. See National Redress Scheme.
Withdraw
To stop an application being considered by the Independent Decision Maker and National Redress Scheme.