Are you eligible for this payout? We hope you aren’t

Have you heard about the National Redress Scheme (NRS)? We hope you are not eligible for payments from the program, but if you think you are, read on.

The NRS was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and is designed to support victims of institutional sexual abuse.  

It was established to support and recognise victims through several services including education about the scheme, counselling, legal advice and financial payments. 

You are eligible for help under the scheme if:

  • you were sexually abused when you were under 18
  • you were born before 30 June 2010 
  • the abuse happened before 1 July 2018 while you were in an institution
  • you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident when you apply.

Redress may include a payment, counselling that is confidential and culturally appropriate, and a direct personal response such as an apology from an institution. 

Redress payments

Payments are decided case by case  and range from $10,000 to $150,000.

If you have already received a payment from another source over the abuse, this will be taken into account. Other sources include legal settlements, victims of crime schemes or out-of-court settlements. 

Past payments to cover victims’ medical bills are not taken into account.

A redress payment is non-taxable and exempt from creditors, however, it can be included in the assets test for Centrelink purposes.

Personal response

A NRS personal response involves interaction with the offending institution.

It can take the form of a formal apology, the institution accepting the abuse that took place and an explanation about what the institution is doing about past abuse and how it will prevent it in the future. 

Each institution offers its own response, but it may involve a written apology, a face-to-face meeting, a public apology or other arrangements depending on the victim’s circumstances. 


The counselling available through the NRS depends on where you live. 

If you live in South Australia or overseas, you can receive a payment up to $5000 to access counselling.

For all other states, you will be connected to an appropriate counselling service as part of your redress package. You will be able to access a minimum of 20 hours of counselling over your lifetime.

If your abuse happened in NSW, you may also be eligible for free counselling through a Victim Services-approved counselling service.

Who has joined?

Unfortunately, not all institutions named in the royal commission have joined the scheme. To find out which organisations are signed up, visit here or here.

If you can’t find a specific institution it’s worth contacting the NRS anyway. Many institutions run by large groups such as churches may not be named individually. Call the NRS on 1800 737 377 to find out more.

The NRS recognises that many traumatised victims often have difficulty coming forward to take the first step and all services are free and independent. If a victim finds the process overwhelming it can be stopped or paused at any time. 

“It is normal to feel nervous or distressed about the idea of applying,” the NRS advises.

“We have designed the application process hoping it will not cause further distress. There still might be times when this process is difficult.”

Support staff are available to help check your eligibility, help fill out forms, provide emotional support and speak on your behalf.

Formal offer

Once you have applied, the NRS will contact you most likely by phone as well as send an official letter about the outcome of your application. 

If you are successful the letter will outline what you are entitled to and specify how a direct personal response can be arranged, how to access counselling and how to accept or decline the offer.

The letter will also outline the legal ramifications of accepting the offer. Most importantly, if you accept the offer, you will release the responsible institution from any civil liberty action. 

However, the NRS also offers free and confidential legal advice and financial services to support and inform your final decision.

It’s also worth noting that there are several cruel scam websites around claiming victims are eligible for an immediate $3000 payout. Do not click on any links on these sites and do not provide any personal details. 

Applications close 30 June 2027. Find out more here

Have you heard of this scheme? Do you think it’s a good idea? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Also read: Cruel Centrelink scam adds to victims’ woes

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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