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Changes made to address national redress scheme concerns

The federal government said it will make changes to an application form for redress for institutional child sexual abuse survivors to address their concerns

Australians who experienced child sex abuse while in the care of institutions will no longer be forced to disclose the impact of the abuse to the organisations involved in order to join a national redress scheme.

The federal government said it will fine-tune an application form for joining the scheme so that applicants can choose whether or not to share an impact statement with the institution in which they were abused.

The change follows outcry from some survivors over having to share their personal experiences with their abusers.

“We are listening to those survivors and are responding,” Social Services Minister, Paul Fletcher, said in a statement.

Fletcher said the government will work with the states and territories to secure their formal agreement for the change as soon as possible.

“We will talk to relevant parties as a matter of urgency to modify the form in a way that achieves the outcomes for survivors that the redress scheme was designed to deliver.”

The national scheme began on July 1 to provide redress to about 60,000 people who were sexually abused as children while in the care of institutions and will run for 10 years.

It provides access to counselling, a redress payment and a direct personal response such as an apology from an institution, if the survivor wants it.

So far only a handful of payments have been made under the scheme, from more than 1,500 applications lodged.

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