November 28, 2019 06:59:56
Sixty-four-year-old David Emery is a survivor of child sexual abuse, who, despite being chronically ill, is considering turning down his offer of $70,000 from the National Redress Scheme.
- The National Redress Scheme applies indexation to previous compensation payments when calculating its offers
- Survivors say this indexation is “theft” and “a tax” and should not be used
- A spokesperson says the average Redress payment is higher than forecast
He was raped as a child while in the care of the Salvation Army, at the Box Hill and Bayswater Boys Homes east of Melbourne — places he described as “hell holes”.
“I mean, they locked that paedophile up in my dorm, and he just walked around and just helped himself,” Mr Emery said.
He was awarded $37,000 in 2008, after pursuing legal action against the Salvation Army and the Anglican Church.
Mr Emery is angry his previous payment has been “indexed” under the terms of the National Redress Scheme, at a rate of 1.9 per cent for every year since 2008 — including the 14 months it took the Redress scheme to assess his application.
“I just don’t understand how you can call that indexing — it’s just theft,” he said.
The redress scheme now considers Mr Emery’s previous payment to be $44,733 — and that’s the figure they’ve deducted from his offer.
Even with that $44,733 taken out, Mr Emery has been made an offer of just under $70,000 — well short of the maximum of $150,000 payable under the scheme.
He has now appealed to the scheme to receive a breakdown of how it calculated the offer — but he has not yet received it.
“I’m very upset. I really can’t understand how they could come to that sort of offer, with, knowing what happened to me, and having that explained to them again and again. It’s just, it’s wrong.
“You know like, what has to happen to you to attain that figure of $150,000? Really, what has to happen to you? Do you have to be a dribbling mess in the corner? What?
“So I’m actually seriously contemplating not taking it [the redress offer].
“I know redress was brought in stop filling up the court, but with that sort of offer, forget it — I’ll fill up the court,” Mr Emery said.
Average redress payout ‘higher than expected’
Indexation was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — but the peak body for care leavers says it is penalising survivors.
Leonie Sheedy, the CEO of Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN), argued that by the same logic, the redress scheme’s payments should be indexed as well.
“It’s a tax,” Ms Sheedy said.
“They’re taxing you on the paltry amounts that you were paid previously, yet they’re not indexing the $150,000 over each year you’re waiting for it.”
Ms Sheedy said she believed the royal commission’s recommendation was part of a deal to get the redress scheme over the line.
“I think that was the only way to get the churches, charities and governments on board to join the national redress scheme,” she said.
“But CLAN doesn’t support that recommendation, we never have and we never will.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Minister for Social Services, Senator Anne Ruston, said survivors had six months to consider an offer, access to free legal support, counselling and were able to request a review of their offer.
The spokesperson did not answer how many applicants had received the maximum payment of $150,000 available under the scheme, except to say “a number”.
“The average Redress payment as at November 8 is $80,771, higher than the expected forecast average payment of $65,000 by the royal commission,” the spokesperson said.
There are currently more than 4,000 applications outstanding with the National Redress Scheme, with application wait times exceeding 12 months in most cases.
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November 28, 2019 06:16:17
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