Page 2411 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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These resources are part of the almost $14 million that the government has committed over the next four years to fund redress. Over the 10-year lifetime of the scheme, the government estimates that up to $30 million will be provided to help survivors rebuild their lives and to ensure that institutions take responsibility for their failings. Survivors will have access to legal advice, to counselling and to administrative help in working through the redress process.

MR PETTERSSON: How will police, prosecutors and the courts be supported to respond to people who come forward after seeking redress? 

MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Pettersson for his supplementary question. The Royal Commission and the brave survivors who have come forward during the process have brought to light failings that will be addressed through the redress scheme but also will be addressed through the justice system. We can expect that more people will come forward and seek to hold abusers accountable for their actions. People who apply for redress will also be supported through resourcing for criminal cases and through changes to support people throughout the court process.

Recent changes have improved and strengthened our laws for prosecuting child sex abuse cases. In February 2018 this Assembly passed legislation to ensure that repeated occasions of child sexual abuse could be charged and tried effectively. Those changes were a direct result of the response to the findings of the Royal Commission. Canberra has been a leader in adopting new legislation to ensure fairness for survivors of sexual assault in the court process. The ACT introduced the use of pre-recorded interviews for child witnesses to a sexual offence in 2008. In May 2017 the use of pre-recorded witness interviews as evidence in chief was expanded to all sexual offences. The ACT will keep working hard to ensure that court processes stay oriented around supporting survivors and securing a just outcome for them.

Government—community organisations support

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion. Minister, can you please update the Assembly on what the government is doing to support community organisations to become more effective and efficient.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for his question. I am delighted to update the Assembly on how the ACT government is supporting community organisations to become more effective and efficient. Our government is committed to enhancing the strength of our city as an inclusive and connected place where all people can reach their full potential and contribute positively to the life of the broader ACT community.

Community organisations play a key role in this, connecting those experiencing disadvantage with appropriate support services. They also provide social infrastructure, enabling those who wish to volunteer or help those in need to develop their skills and experience and participate in the civic life of the ACT.

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