On 27 November 2020, the Commonwealth Government announced that it will be placing sanctions on institutions who refuse to join the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Scheme).

The Scheme was established in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Scheme provides support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse, including by:

  • acknowledging that many children were sexually abused in Australian institutions;
  • holding institutions accountable for this abuse; and
  • helping people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse gain access to counselling, a direct personal response, and a Redress payment.

Joining the Scheme, which started on 1 July 2018, has so far been voluntary. However, under the proposed reforms the ACNC would be given power to deregister a charity which does not take reasonable steps to participate in the Scheme. In addition, it is proposed that the definition of basic religious charity (BRC) under the ACNC Act will be amended to remove a religious institution’s eligibility to be classified as a BRC if it has been named in an application but refuses to join the Scheme.

It is also proposed that a new governance standard will be included in the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013 (Cth), requiring registered charities to take all reasonable steps to join the Scheme if a redress claim has been made, or is likely to be made, against the charity.

The public consultation period for the new ACNC governance standard will be open until Friday 8 January.

How can we help?

If you have any questions about these proposed sanctions, or about the National Redress Scheme generally, please get in touch with our  Charities + Social Sector lawyers.

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