BLUE KNOT FOUNDATION FACT SHEET FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED CHILDHOOD TRAUMA (INCLUDING ABUSE)
1 Childhood trauma stems from overwhelming negative experiences in early life. It can take many forms (eg. sexual,emotional,physicalabuseandneglect).Itcanalso occur without abuse if early caregivers were unable to meet your emotional needs (e.g. because they had unresolved trauma histories themselves).
2 Unresolved childhood trauma negatively impacts 8 health and well-being in adulthood. It affects both emotional and physical health (the whole person’) and the full impacts may not become apparent until years later.
3 It is possible to heal from childhood trauma. Research shows that with the right support, even severe early life trauma can be resolved. It also shows that when an adult has resolved their childhood trauma, it benefits their children or the children they may later have. Children develop coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of childhood trauma. It is normal to want to feel better, and if you were traumatised as a child the need to escape’ feelings can be intense.
4 Effects of childhood trauma include anxiety, depression, health problems (emotional and physical), disconnection, isolation, confusion, being ‘spaced out’, and fear of intimacy and new experiences. There 10 is no one size fits all’, but reduced quality of life is a constant.
5 Survivors are often on ‘high alert’. Even minor stress can trigger ‘out of proportion’ responses. Your body continues to react as if you are still in danger, and this can be explained in terms of unresolved prior experience.
6 Survivors often struggle with shame and self-blame. But childhood trauma and its established effects are NOT your fault, even though you may feel otherwise (often because this is what you were encouraged to believe as a child when you were vulnerable and still developing).
7 Self-blame can be especially strong if you experienced any positive physical sensations (which is not an uncommon body response) in relation to abuse you have undergone. Physical reaction to sexual abuse does NOT mean desire for, or agreement to, it. Children cannot consent to, much less ‘cause’, sexual or other forms of abuse.
8 Children develop coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of childhood trauma. It is normal to want to feel better, and if you were traumatised as a child the need to `escape’ feelings can be intense.
9 Coping mechanisms develop for a reason, serve a purpose, and can be highly effective in the short term. But some methods of coping (e.g. excessive alcohol use) can be risky in themselves. Addictions (to food, sex, drugs), avoidance of contact with others (which reinforces isolation) and compulsive behaviours of various kinds (in attempts to run from the underlying problem which, because it is unaddressed, doesn’t go away) are all ways people try to cope.
10 Coping mechanisms develop for a reason, serve a purpose, and can be highly effective in the short term. But some methods of coping (e.g. excessive alcohol use) can be risky in themselves. Addictions (to food, sex, drugs), avoidance of contact with others (which reinforces isolation) and compulsive behaviours of various kinds (in attempts to run from the underlying problem which, because it is unaddressed, doesn’t go away) are all ways people try to cope.
11 Coping mechanisms develop for a reason, serve a purpose, and can be highly effective in the short term. But some methods of coping (e.g. excessive alcohol use) can be risky in themselves. Addictions (to food, sex, drugs), avoidance of contact with others (which reinforces isolation) and compulsive behaviours of various kinds (in attempts to run from the underlying problem which, because it is unaddressed, doesn’t go away) are all ways people try to cope.
Senator Ruston said the government had accepted “every recommendation that we are able to accept” in its response to the standing committee’s recommendations for the Scheme it returned on Monday, and that it should be announced publicly within 48 hours.
One major group which has not signed up to the Redress Scheme is the Jehovah’s Witnesses (the JW’s). The Royal Commission heard that 1,006 plausible complaints of child sexual abuse had been received by the JW’s in Australia but no alleged perpetrators had been reported to the police. It appears that the JW’s would have a substantial financial exposure if it joined the Scheme.
Alternatively, the JW’s may be stripped of its charity status if it fails to sign up by the 30 June 2020 deadline.
The JW’s have refused to remove sex offenders from congregations unless the victim can produce a second witness. The organisation was criticized for its ‘Second Witness Rule’ by the Royal Commission.
The JW’s global operations are controlled by a Governing Body of eight men from JW headquarters in Warwick, New York State, USA. The decision to join or not to join the Redress Scheme is the responsibility of the US Governing Body.
JW’s have a history of distrust of the government, refusing to vote and avoiding military service. They are banned in China, Russia, Singapore and most Muslim majority countries. They are most active in the USA, Mexico and Brazil. JW’s were once banned in Canada.
On the other hand, Hillsong Church and the leading Pentecostal umbrella group, Australian Christian Churches, have all signed up to the National Redress Scheme. (Hillsong Church is now a separate legal entity from ACC).
The addition of non-government institutions, including Hillsong Church, Australian Christian Churches (ACC), C3 Churches, Churches of Christ, Baptists, Christian Schools Australia and Barnardo’s Australia, has more than doubled the number of non-government groups in the scheme from 67 to 162 in one year.
Particularly, Rudd house / Boarders may have experienced more than the Day boys from a single to constant Canings via anyone is ‘Corporal Punishment of a minor’ : aka Phyysical Child Abuse. There is no wonder it was outlawed in Public Education, gradually followed by Private Edu (1990’s). Even use of Caning as a threat results in the same level of Redress: 100-500’s each yr X $5,000 (min.) : $500,000-$2,500,000 / yr may make lasting impact on ANY Institution (Church-State-Private).
Imagine these figures, spread throughout each City-State-Town + Coupled with Public Apologies + Counselling-Support: the immense multitude of ‘the masses’ of impacted Students, Parents, Families throughout ANY Institution may be quite profound. Another perspective (POV) is painted by ‘from little things, big things grow’. EDRMS also explain that compliance is strengthened by good recordkeeping and systems. A solid evidence base is essential for these commitments.
Using this common phrase as incentive, so much can be gained for anyone whose been through. Physical Abuse, through Caning, has been used as the example of this post. From NRS site – Who can Apply is simply explained: https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/applying/who-can-apply. Feedback is encouraged, whether anonymously/pseudonym/name via WP, FB, eMail or Twitter.
Circumstances that might affect how your application is processed
Depending on your circumstances, your application may progress to assessment differently. These circumstances include if you:
This newsletter gives you an update on the National Redress Scheme, including how to, and where to get support, recent progress on applications and new developments in the Scheme.
Redress Support Services
This newsletter contains material that could be confronting and stressing. Sometimes words or images can cause sadness or distress or trigger traumatic memories for people, particularly for those people who have experienced past abuse or childhood trauma.
There are free and confidential Redress Support Services to help you. They can support you before, during and after you apply for redress. Services can provide practical and emotional support, legal advice and financial counselling. If you need immediate help or counselling, 24/7 support is available.
made 1,194 decisions, including 975 payments totalling over $79.3 million
made 148 offers of redress, which applicants have six months to consider
was processing 3,733 applications
had 898 applications on hold, including 557 because one or more institutions named had not yet joined and about 341 because they required additional information from the applicant.
From 1 July 2019 to 3 January 2020, 747 applications were finalised, resulting in 736 payments. This is more than the 239 payments made in the first year of the Scheme.
Ministers Redress Scheme Governance Meeting
On Friday 29 November 2019, the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, hosted the Ministers Redress Scheme Governance Board meeting with relevant ministers with responsibility for the National Redress Scheme in their State or Territory. Ministers were unanimous in their commitment to the timely delivery of redress and providing greater accountability and transparency to the Scheme. Ministers also agreed that non-participating institutions should join the Scheme without delay to ensure survivors receive the support and acknowledgement they are waiting for.
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…
— Read on blmabuseandneglectblog.com/2019/06/07/update-on-redress-in-australia/
This newsletter provides you with information about your legal options in regards to the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme).
For more information or to find support services, visit thehttp://nationalredress.gov.au/ or call 1800 737 377 Monday to Friday (local time) excluding public holidays.
Understanding your legal rights under the National Redress Scheme
You are not required to use a lawyer to apply for redress. However, you may wish to seek legal advice to understand if redress if the best option for you and the impact it may have on other legal rights.
If you want to access legal support, the Scheme offers freelegal advice throughknowmore or call 1800 605 762 (Free call).
You can also choose to use a private lawyer. This will be at your own cost. Below are some questions you may have regarding the use of lawyers and the Scheme.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I required to seek legal advice?
No. However, you may wish to seek legal advice as this may help you through the process and allow you to completely understand your legal rights.
Can I get free legal advice?
Yes. The Scheme provides free legal support services through ‘knowmore’.
What can knowmore provide?
knowmore is available for free to all people thinking about applying to the Scheme.
knowmore can provide you with:
legal support through the application process,
legal advice on your options, including the availability of other forms of action or redress aside from the Scheme,
assistance understanding the legal effects of accepting an offer of redress,
advice on the effect of confidentiality agreements in past proceedings,
take complaints about the Scheme,
support obtaining records,
linking with specialist counselling, support services and victims’ support groups, and
any other legal support needs, through providing information and referral support.
What is knowmore?
knowmore is a legal service funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Attorney-General’s Department.
knowmore delivers free services nationally from its three offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with regular visits to other States and Territories. These services are delivered through its multidisciplinary team of lawyers, social workers and counsellors.
knowmore has a proven track record of providing legal support services to survivors of child sexual abuse. It has the infrastructure and expertise deliver national, quality and trauma‑informed legal services.
Do I have to use knowmore?
No. You are not required to seek legal advice to apply to the Scheme. You can also use a private lawyer. This may be at your own cost.
Should I seek legal advice?
You may wish to seek legal advice, with the Scheme offering free advice through knowmore. While the Scheme is designed to be non-legalistic, some people may need help to complete their application to ensure that all the necessary information has been included. knowmore can help with this.
For many people making an application for redress will be the right thing to do. However, not everyone is eligible for redress. Some people may also want to consider if civil litigation is a better option for them.
If you have received redress under other schemes or through past actions or claims you can still apply to this Scheme; however, prior payments may be taken into account.
If you accept an offer of redress you must sign a release document. By signing this release, you will not be able to continue or to commence any civil or common law proceedings against the responsible institution or its officials. This is an important right to give up. knowmore can give you advice about the release and the legal options that you might have apart from redress.
Where do I get support?
Redress Support Services are available to help people understand the Scheme, provide emotional support and guide people through the application process. A list of support services is available on thewebsite.
Latest institutions to join the National Redress SchemeThis newsletter includes an update on the latest institutions to join the National Redress Scheme. For more information or to find support services, go to theNational Redress Scheme websiteor call1800 737 377Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm (local time), excluding public holidays.
On 29 March 2019, the National Redress Scheme (Scheme) added over 7,000 site records to the National Redress Scheme search database. This is the largest upload to the Scheme website to date. The following institutions have undertaken the steps to join, they are: · Uniting Church in Australia Assembly · Baptist Care NSW & ACT · Baptist Care SA · Baptist Care WA · Baptist Churches of New South Wales & ACT · Baptist Churches of Victoria · Sisters of Mercy Parramatta · Scouts Queensland
The fourth group of Anglican organisations have joined represented by Anglican Representative Limited, they are:
· Anglican Diocese Bunbury · Anglican Diocese of Gippsland · Anglican Diocese of Grafton · Anglican Diocese of Melbourne · Anglican Diocese of Newcastle · Anglican Diocese of North Queensland · Anglican Diocese of Sydney · Anglican Diocese of Tasmania · Anglican Diocese of Willochra · Anglican Schools Corporation · Anglicare N.T. Ltd · Anglicare SA Ltd · Brotherhood of St Laurence · Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited · Church Missionary Society – NSW and ACT Limited · Church Missionary Society Victoria Incorporated · Mentone Grammar School · St Columba Anglican School Council · St Michael’s Collegiate School · The Council of Macarthur Anglican School, ATF Macarthur School · The Council of Tara Anglican School for Girls · The Hutchins School
An interactive map is also now available on thiswebsitefor users to choose a state or territory from the map, to find out what institutions have joined in your area.
Where do I get support?
Redress Support Services are available to help people understand the Scheme, provide emotional support and guide people through the application process. A list of support services is available on thewebsite.
Those who need immediate emotional support can contact:
To find out more, you can call the National Redress Scheme on1800 737 377Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm (local time), excluding public holidays. You can also visit the website atwww.nationalredress.gov.au.
Through the Redress Scheme, those who have been sexually abused in Australian institutions now have the opportunity to obtain financial compensation, counselling and a personal apology for the horror they endured. But don’t for one minute think it will be an easy process.
On 14 September 2015 the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its Redress and Civil Litigation Report. After receiving submissions from more than 250 individuals and institutions, the 589-page report made 99 recommendations. There was an enormous financial cost to the Australian public for the Royal Commission so we should listen to what the Royal Commission had to say.
Here are some of the most significant recommendations regarding the Redress Scheme and what’s happened so far:
A national redress scheme for the estimated 60,000 likely claimants be established and commence accepting applications from survivors no later than 1 July 2017.
The Redress Scheme started on 1 July 2018, just a year late. While everyone can start the application process, my understanding is that some State legislation needs to catch up. Applications from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia can be received but they can’t yet be assessed.
The major perpetrators of institutional child sexual abuse (the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches, Salvation Army, Scouts and YMCA) have agreed to join the scheme. However, the current lack of legislation in some States creates a loophole, so let’s hope those non-government institutions don’t use it to opt out.
The redress scheme to be independent of the offending institutions.
The applications for redress will be assessed by Independent Decision Makers, but we don’t know who they are. The Redress Scheme assures applicants that the Independent Decision Makers have no connection with participating institutions. Does this mean there will be no Catholic, Anglican or Uniting Church parishioners? No ex or current members of the Salvation Army, Scouts or the YMCA? How can the assessment process be transparent if the Independent Decision Makers are not named?
Appropriate redress for survivors would include a financial payment up to $200,000.
The payment through the National Redress Scheme has been reduced to a maximum of $150,000.
$150,000 is a paltry amount for the impact of child sexual abuse on your life. It would go nowhere near compensating MsForgotten Australianfor her lack of ability to sustain full-time employment throughout her life, without taking into account her suffering. The average redress payment is expected to be $76,000 and many will get less than that.
Applicants may receive a greater payout if they pursue compensation through the court process but the burden of proof will be greater in the court system than through the Redress Scheme. However, the burden of engaging in the court process is likely to be more adversarial and stressful than the Redress Scheme. It’s challenging for survivors to provide the detailed particulars (time, date, location etc) often required for the court process, particularly if the child sexual abuse occurred many years ago and occurred multiple times.
The Redress Scheme is of significant benefit for the perpetrating institutions as payouts are likely to be less than through the legal process, and they won’t be tied up and financing legal processes for years.
A person should be eligible to apply to a redress scheme for redress if he or she was sexually abused as a child in an institutional context and the sexual abuse occurred, or the first incidence of the sexual abuse occurred, before the cut-off date.
That is unless you’re in prison. If you are currently incarcerated you cant apply, you can do so when you’ve been released. If you’re out of gaol, but you’ve served more than a 5-year term then probably no redress for you, unless you are able to prove how rehabilitated you are.
Now I don’t want to get into an argument about prisoners getting money but here’s what infuriates me. The Royal Commission visited 60 prisons to take statements from prisoners who had been sexually abused in institutions. They did this because there is such a clear understanding that child sexual abuse derails peoples lives to such an extent they are over-represented in the prison system.
I provided counselling to prisoners who had attended private sessions with the Royal Commission. Their accounts of the sadistic child sexual abuse perpetrated against them were horrendous. For some, the Royal Commission was the first time they had disclosed the abuse and the process of disclosing was traumatic.
Of the, 6,875 survivors and/or their family and friends who attended private sessions between May 2013 and May 2017 to share their experiences of child sexual abuse in Australian institutions, 713 (10.4 per cent) were in prison at the time of their private session.
On average, survivors in prison were aged 11.3 years when they were first sexually abused in an institutional context, though many said they experienced physical and sexual abuse prior to this, often within the family. The majority were sexually abused on multiple occasions (86.7 per cent). Most said they were sexually abused by a single person (53.7 per cent), and almost three-quarters for a duration of one year or less (71.5 per cent).
Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: Final Report – Private Sessions
So the Redress Scheme seems to be saying to prisoners “thanks for telling us what happened to you, we know that it stuffed your life up, but too bad, no Redress for you or your family”. Surely prisoners could apply and, if successful, any payout placed in trust.
Oh… and if you’re not an Australian citizen or permanent resident you also can’t apply. So too bad if you came to Australia, went to school here, got sexually abused as a child at school and then went home! No redress for you either.
A redress scheme should rely primarily on completion of a written application form.
Sounds easy, but filling out that 44-page document is complex. Some survivors believed that their statement to the Royal Commission would have been sufficient as an application. It’s agonising to document a detailed account of child sexual abuse and then send it off to be assessed, by an unknown party. Once again survivors are placed in the role of having to prove what happened to them.
There are supports available to help people with the application process. You can access them here:Redress Support Services. I would encourage anyone completing the application to be supported by family, friends and/or the support services offered.
Counselling and psychological care should be supported through redress in accordance with the following principles:
Counselling and psychological care should be available throughout a survivor’s life.
Counselling and psychological care should be available on an episodic basis.
Survivors should be allowed flexibility and choice in relation to counselling and psychological care.
There should be no fixed limits on the counselling and psychological care provided to a survivor.
Without limiting survivor choice, counselling and psychological care should be provided by practitioners with appropriate capabilities to work with clients with complex trauma.
Treating practitioners should be required to conduct ongoing assessment and review to ensure treatment is necessary and effective. If those who fund counselling and psychological care through redress have concerns about services provided by a particular practitioner, they should negotiate a process of external review with that practitioner and the survivor. Any process of assessment and review should be designed to ensure it causes no harm to the survivor.
Counselling and psychological care should be provided to a survivor’s family members if necessary for the survivor’s treatment.
New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have free counselling services as part of the redress offer. Counselling services in Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia have not yet been finalised. Applicants living where States are not offering free counselling services will receive a payment of $5,000 to cover counselling. That’s about 25 sessions throughout a lifetime. That may not be sufficient to address complex trauma.
Some final thoughts….
We now have a situation where some child abuse survivors may feel abandoned by the Redress Scheme. If you were in an institution and were viciously beaten and neglected, but not sexually abused you are now “unlucky” because you can’t access the Redress Scheme. The Royal Commission didn’t just uncover child sexual abuse, it also uncovered systemic physical and emotional abuse and neglect in institutions and yet these non sexually abused survivors have no access to the Redress Scheme.
I’m not sure the Redress Scheme sets right that which is morally wrong.
What are your thoughts regarding the Redress Scheme?