Dioceses to join National Redress Scheme to compensate abuse victims as quickly as possible

The Catholic Church’s entry into the National Redress Scheme, created to compensate the victims of institutional child sex abuse, will take place as soon as individual dioceses are ready in order to speed up the process, according to Cath News.

A statement released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) on 7 December said Catholic archdioceses, dioceses and eparchies will enter the scheme as quickly as possible.

“The decision to have a staggered entry of Catholic institutions into the National Redress Scheme was made to allow institutions to enter the scheme sooner than would have happened if the Church had waited for a single, mass entry,” the ACBC said.

 Almost all dioceses had completed their paperwork and Australian Catholic Redress Ltd was working closely with the Department of Social Services to facilitate formal entry into the Scheme for those dioceses, according to the ACBC statement.

ABC News reported that while the Anglican Church partly signed on to the agreement on 7 December, the Catholic and Uniting churches had yet to formally enter. In recent weeks, the Federal Government has been speaking directly to church leaders to urge them to come on board, Cath News reports.

“They’ve made a public commitment that they will join so my expectation … the government’s expectation is that they turn words into action,” Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher told ABC News.

The ACBC said it had had hoped that dioceses would have been processing applications by now but there had been no issues with the process.

“There has been no undue delay – simply a desire to make sure the entry was handled correctly the first time”, the ACBC said. For more information on the National Redress Scheme go to - http://guides.dss.gov.au/national-redress-guide

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