Catholic Church Doubles Maximum Compensation for Melbourne Abuse Victims to $150,000

The Guardian
November 18, 2016

Melbourne Catholic archbishop Denis Hart says it is right to revisit cases for survivors of child sexual abuse, as compensation cap is doubled. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

The Catholic church has doubled the maximum compensation payment to people sexually abused as children by clergy in the Melbourne archdiocese to $150,000.

Abuse survivors who have already received payments under the Melbourne Response can have their cases reviewed to determine if they are eligible for additional compensation.

The doubling of the compensation cap from 1 January 2017 puts it in line with the maximum payment under the federal government’s redress scheme starting in 2018.

On Friday Melbourne archbishop Denis Hart said the archdiocese was committed to a fair system of redress.

“We have decided it is right to both increase the compensation cap for survivors of abuse and revisit cases for survivors of child sexual abuse if these survivors would have received a higher offer had the new arrangements been in force at the time their case was heard,” Hart said.

Retired federal court judge Donnell Ryan QC recommended increasing the cap from $75,000 to $150,000 and reopening previous cases after reviewing compensation payments under the much-criticised Melbourne Response system for handling abuse complaints in the Melbourne archdiocese.

Hart said he regretted a delay in announcing the compensation increase, which he attributed to continued child abuse royal commission hearings involving the Melbourne archdiocese and the time taken by the federal government to announce its redress scheme.

“Our objective has been to seek to align any change in compensation under the Melbourne Response to the decisions by government on compensation for survivors to ensure survivors have equal access and treatment,” Hart said in a statement.

He said further changes to the Melbourne Response were being considered.








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