Who can apply

Redress is about recognising the harm done to people who experienced sexual abuse as children and holding the institutions responsible to account.

Who is eligible for redress

You are eligible for redress if:

  • you experienced sexual abuse when you were under 18 years of age
  • you were born before 30 June 2010
  • the abuse happened before 1 July 2018 while you were in an institution, 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
  • you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident when you apply, unless an exception applies to you as a former child migrant who: 
    • was sent to Australia from the United Kingdom or Malta prior to 1984,
    • arrived in Australia without a parent or guardian, and
    • were made ward of the state.

Depending on your circumstances, other rules around eligibility may apply.

Learn more about who is eligible and how your application will be processed below.

Your application may progress differently if you:

  • were abused in an institution that hasn’t joined the National Redress Scheme
  • are under 18 years of age
  • have ever been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 5 years or more for a single offence
  • have already received a payment related to the abuse.

You cannot apply if you:

  • have already received and accepted an offer or outcome for redress through the National Redress Scheme.

You cannot access redress if you:

  • did not suffer sexual abuse
  • have already received a court-ordered payment from the institution.

If you want to apply, you can also think about:

Circumstances that might affect how your application is processed

Your application may progress differently if you:

Currently aged under 18 years

If you are under 18 years old, you can apply for redress if you are going to turn 18 before 30 June 2028. After you have applied, the National Redress Scheme will conduct a preliminary assessment of your application, which may help you decide whether you want to wait for redress or pursue other options. The National Redress Scheme team will contact you to discuss your options.

After you turn 18, the National Redress Scheme will contact you again to ask if you want to go ahead with your application or withdraw it. If you choose to proceed, your application will then be assessed. Offers may differ from the preliminary assessment as individual circumstances may change.

You need to be aged 18 years or older to accept an offer of redress.

In the meantime, you can access Redress Support Services, including the legal support service knowmore, which can help you understand your legal options.

Experienced institutional child sexual abuse after 1 July 2018

Redress is about making amends for wrongs that happened in the past. The National Redress Scheme was established for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse before 1 July 2018, when the National Redress Scheme started.

People who experienced child sexual abuse after the National Redress Scheme’s commencement on 1 July 2018 are not be able to access redress through the National Redress Scheme. Other legal options may be available, such as civil litigation.

Have been sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years or longer

If you have been convicted of a crime and received a single sentence of imprisonment of 5 years or more you can still apply for redress. However, you will need to go through a special assessment process before you can access redress.

If this is your circumstance, you will be asked to provide some additional information about your offences. The National Redress Scheme will then request advice about your entitlement to redress from:

  • the Specified Advisor in the state or territory where your abuse occurred
  • the Specified Advisor in the state or territory where your offence occurred (if it is different), and/or
  • the Commonwealth Specified Advisor (only if your offence was a federal criminal offence or occurred overseas).

When making a decision about your entitlement to redress, the National Redress Scheme Operator considers advice received from the relevant Specified Advisor, and the Operator takes into account:

  • the nature of your offence and the length of imprisonment it carried
  • the period of time since you committed the offence and your rehabilitation since the offence, and
  • any other relevant information.

Your application for redress will only progress if you are entitled to redress after the special assessment process has been completed.

More information on applying with Serious Criminal Convictions.

Currently serving a sentence in gaol

As of 4 April 2024, there are no restrictions on people who apply for redress from gaol. If you are currently incarcerated, you can submit an application form to the Scheme through normal processes.

If you would like someone to act on your behalf or if you would like support contacting the Scheme, you can appoint an assistance or legal nominee. A nominee can be a trusted family member, friend or guardian, or you can appoint one of the Redress Support Services, including the legal support service knowmore.

Received redress through another scheme

Previous payments can affect the redress payment you are offered, including payments from other redress schemes, victims of crime schemes or out-of-court settlements.

If the payments don't relate to the abuse in your application they won't be considered.

The value of any earlier payment will be deducted from the Redress payment, and earlier payments will be adjusted to today's value. The earlier payment will be adjusted using a flat rate of 1.9 per cent compounded for each whole year before the date of the redress offer. For example, a payment of $40,000 made on 10 years ago would be $48,283.84.

If you signed an agreement not to speak about your abuse or ask for any more money you can still apply. An institution cannot legally stop you from applying for or receiving redress through the National Redress Scheme. To get free legal advice call knowmore on 1800 605 762.

Received a payment from the institution you will be applying about, as a result of a court case

If you have already been to court about the abuse, and the court made a ruling on your case, you cannot apply for redress from the institution that has already paid you compensation.

You can still make an application about other institutions or abuse, if no court ruling has been made.

If you have received an out-of-court settlement or other redress scheme payments, you can still apply.

Other options if you don't apply for redress

You might also be able to apply for a victims of crime compensation payment. To get free legal advice and more information call knowmore on 1800 605 762.

You can report the abuse to the police, and you can still report abuse to police if you apply for the National Redress Scheme.

Other questions that may help

What happens if someone dies after they apply?

If someone dies after making a complete application, and they are found eligible for redress, their estate can receive their redress payment.

Beneficiaries or an executor can contact the National Redress Scheme to arrange this.

The counselling and direct personal response components of redress will not be passed on, or be made available to others.

Can I apply for someone who has died?

No, you can't apply on behalf of a person who has died.

What if an institution where I was abused no longer exists?

The National Redress Scheme allows for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse in relation to an institution that no longer exists to access redress in certain circumstances.

In cases where a government and a non-government institution were both responsible for the abuse, and that non-government institution no longer exists, the government can agree to pay the share of redress of that institution.

For more information visit the Institutions page

Does it matter where I live now, or where the abuse took place?

Access to redress is based on where the abuse occurred and the institution responsible. Where you live now does not affect your ability to get access to the National Redress Scheme.

Where you live may affect how you access the counselling and psychological care component of redress. For more information, please visit counselling arrangements in your State or territory.

What if I was in foster care?

Every foster care situation is different. Institutions may be responsible for abuse that happened in foster care in certain situations. It will depend on whether the National Redress Scheme finds that an institution was responsible for the abuser having contact with the person. The National Redress Scheme considers each application on a case-by-case basis.
If a person was placed into foster care by an institution and the institution was the person’s legal guardian, then that institution could be considered responsible. An example of this is if a ward of the state was placed with foster carers by a state government department.

If a person was placed into foster care through informal arrangements, then an institution may not be considered responsible. An example of this is if a person was placed with the consent of the parent into a relative’s care.

Words used on this page

The application is available online or by paper. You can make an application at any time between now and 30 June 2027.
An Attorney-General is the government Minister responsible for the Law.
Australian citizens and permanent residents
This means someone who is legally a citizen of Australia or holds a permanent resident visa.
A child is a person under the age of 18.
Child Sexual Abuse
Under the Scheme, child sexual abuse is when someone involves a person under the age of 18 in sexual activities that they do not understand, or that are against community standards.
Gaol includes: Prison (pending trial or sentencing), Remand Centres, Youth Training Centre, and Community Correction Centres.
Independent Decision Maker
Independent Decision makers will consider applications for redress. They are highly experienced people from a range of backgrounds.
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.
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.
A person nominated to act on behalf of a person applying for redress. They need to fill in the Redress Nominee Form.
Permanent resident
Someone who can stay in Australia permanently.
Redress means acknowledging harm done. The National Redress Scheme provides counselling, a direct personal response and a Redress payment.
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.
The National Redress Scheme for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. See National Redress Scheme.
To stop an application being considered by the Independent Decision Maker and National Redress Scheme.