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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 960 ..

The ACT opting in means that eligible survivors from the ACT will now have access to counselling and psychological services, as well as monetary payments of up to $150,000, and will also receive a direct personal response from the institution where the abuse occurred.

Opting in means that survivors of child sexual abuse that occurred in institutions under the responsibility of the ACT, for example in government schools or out-of-home care, are able to access the scheme. Now that the ACT government has committed to the scheme, I urge non-government institutions operating in the territory to follow our lead and opt in as well.

MS CHEYNE: Attorney, how has the ACT government contributed to the development of the commonwealth redress scheme?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the supplementary question. The ACT government has been vocal and very active in recommending a scheme that achieves what the royal commission recommended in terms of redress. We have actively engaged to ensure that appropriate counselling, appropriate support and appropriate monetary payment are available as part of the redress scheme.

Much of the scheme’s detail is still to be finalised. This past Monday I met with my state and territory counterparts to work with them on ensuring that the scheme meets the needs of survivors and is broadly accessible to all victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

The ACT government’s position has been clear, which is that all survivors should be treated equally under the scheme. Survivors who have criminal records are also survivors who have endured horrible abuse themselves. I wholeheartedly support the view that there should not be two classes of survivor under the scheme. We expect that the position on any exclusions from the redress scheme will be settled within the coming weeks.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how does the creation of a redress scheme support the government’s plans to implement the royal commission’s recommendations in other areas?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary question. The ACT’s decision to become one of the first jurisdictions to opt in to the national redress scheme is yet another way in which the ACT is leading the way in addressing the findings and the recommendations of the royal commission. The ACT has been a leader in adopting survivor-focused criminal laws.

The use of pre-recorded evidence in child sexual assault trials was introduced in 2008 and it has since been expanded to all sexual assault matters. This important change, one that the royal commission recommended that all jurisdictions should pursue, means that survivors are protected from the further trauma that is often engaged in in the court process. I note that we discussed the importance of this legislation in the Assembly in a motion yesterday.

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