Childhood sexual abuse
We support people with disability who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Too often, child sexual abuse goes unreported. PWDA is here to support people with disability who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Are you a survivor of childhood sexual abuse?
Childhood sexual assault can happen at anytime, anywhere.
If this happened to you in relation to a church, hospital, mission, detention centre, foster care, school, sports club, or other similar organisation, then you may be eligible for the National Redress Scheme.
The PWDA Redress Team can:
- Provide advice about the scheme
- Guide you through the application process
- Provide other support for survivors
What is the National Redress Scheme?
In 2017, thousands of survivors spoke to a Royal Commission about their experiences of institutional child sexual abuse. Afterwards, the commission made some recommendations about what should be done. One of those recommendations was the National Redress Scheme.
The scheme is made up of three parts:
- A payment of up to $150,000.
- Access to counselling.
- An apology.
You can request any or all of these things.
How we can help
Our advocates can provide you with practical and emotional support, information about your rights and also support you through the entire application process.
Some of the ways which we can help include:
- Telephone, online and, in some areas, face-to-face support*.
- Connecting you with free legal support, so you can discover about all the available options.
- Support you in filling out the application.
- Support you in accessing other services, like counselling, NDIS, financial counselling and Centrelink.
- If you choose to receive a Direct Personal Response, we can support you through that process.
* PWDA currently provides face-to-face support in the Greater Sydney region, Sutherland area, Newcastle, Queanbeyan, the Southern Tablelands and Southern Highlands. Queensland-based individual advocates can support people in Logan, the Fraser Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Mount Isa and Lower Gulf Communities. PWDA also has the capacity, upon request, to travel to some areas of regional NSW, and currently have regular visits planned to Bathurst, Orange, Broken Hill, Dubbo and Tamworth.
How to get help
To understand how we can best support you, we need to get some information about you first. You can do this in a few ways:
- Call us on 1800 422 015 (toll free) and speak to one of our intake officers
- Email us at email@example.com
- Fill in our online Information request form
Once we have your information, we’ll then be able to provide the most appropriate assistance we can. One of our intake officers will be in contact with you via your preferred method of contact to provide you with information about progressing your case.
Who can apply for the National Redress Scheme?
The redress process can be hard, especially for people with disability. PWDA is a specialist advocacy organisation that provides free, confidential support. We can support you in learning more about the scheme and whether it is the best option for you. We can only act with your consent and you can withdraw that consent at any time.
You may be eligible if:
- You experienced sexual abuse when you were under 18 years old.
- An institution was responsible for bringing you into contact with the person who abused you.
- The abuse happened before July 1, 2018, and you were born before June 30, 2010.
The scheme can only help you if an institution responsible for the abuse has joined the scheme. Check here to find out if an institution has joined the scheme.
If the institution you were looking for is not here, contact us to talk about your options.
There are a few other rules about who can apply. You can find out more about the National Redress Scheme here.
You can make an application for redress any time until 30 June 2027.
What happens after I apply?
An Independent Decision maker will consider your application and the assessment may take some time. This is when PWDA Redress Team can assist in connecting you with a network of support services.
If you are eligible, your payment could be up to $150,000, but the amount can depend on a number of factors. If you have been given a payment for the abuse before, your redress payment may be lower.
If you do receive a payment, you won’t need to pay tax on it, it won’t count as income but it might count in an assets test for a government payment.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What kinds of institutions are covered by the redress scheme?
A: Schools, churches, hospitals, missions, sports clubs, other clubs (such as scouts), orphanages, children’s homes, detention centres and foster care.
Q: Are wards of the state covered by the redress scheme?
A: Yes. The scheme covers abuse that happened while you were under the care of an institution. For example, if you were a ward of the state.
Q: Does it matter where the abuse took place?
A: It doesn’t matter where the abuse took place. It could have happened in your home, or a park, or anywhere. The only stipulation is that the abuser was brought into contact with you through an institution (e.g. a priest visiting your home, or a coach giving you a ride home after practice.)
Q: What if I have experienced abuse more than once?
A: Individuals can only make one redress application. If there have been several instances of abuse, or several institutions, they are all included in the one application.
Q: What if I have already received a payment?
A: You may not be eligible for another one or it may be reduced. However, you can still apply for counselling or a direct personal response.
Q: Will my information be kept safe?
A: There are strict rules about how information in your application can be used. People who use or share your information inappropriately can be fined or jailed.
You can read and download this National Redress Project brochure, and share it with people you know who may benefit from this information: PWDA National Redress Scheme brochure.
We also have a collection of fact sheets available, as below:
- Responding to disclosures: Fact sheet
- Redress application process: Fact sheet
- Disability support and redress: Fact sheet
- PWDA and Redress project: Fact sheet
We produced this range of fact sheets in partnership with Children And Young People With Disability Australia (CYDA) :
- About The National Redress Scheme for people with disability
- Applying to the National Redress Scheme
- About The National Redress Scheme for families, caregivers and support people
- Easy Read Fact Sheet
Our resources are also available in Easy English.
PWDA Redress Project video
The National Redress Scheme
- The National Redress Scheme provides support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
- Phone: 1800 737 377
- Website: www.nationalredress.gov.au
Knowmore | Legal support
- Free, independent and confidential legal support about the National Redress Scheme and all related issues is available through the knowmore legal service.
- Phone: 1800 605 762
- Website: www.knowmore.org.au
Alternately, contact PWDA and we can advise you on the best way to speak with knowmore about your issues.
If you have found any of this content related to the National Redress Scheme distressing, please contact one of the organisations below:
- 1800 RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service (open 24/7).
- Lifeline Australia or the Suicide Call Back Service, if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal (open 24/7).
- Mensline, a telephone and online counselling service for men with family and relationship concerns (open 24/7).
- QLife provides Australia-wide anonymous, LGBTI peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships (open 3pm to midnight, 7 days a week).
Ends | Contact us
Videos and accessible media
Easy Read resources
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