Griffith University criminologist Professor Kathleen Daly has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of an initial $33.4 million to establish a national redress scheme for children who were sexually abused in institutional contexts.

Professor Daly, a member of the Independent Advisory Council on Redress announced by the Turnbull Government in December 2016, said the scheme will begin taking applications for redress from survivors of Commonwealth institutions from July 2018. In time, it is expected that other governments and non-government institutions will opt into the scheme.

Joining Professor Daly on the 15-member Council are survivors of institutional abuse and representatives from support organisations, as well as legal and psychological experts, Indigenous and disability experts, institutional interest groups and those with a background in government.

Establishing the Council was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Council has been asked to provide advice on the governing principles of the scheme, its design elements, and how to encourage participation by government and non-government institutions.

“The scope of the Royal Commission’s work is a world-first. No other country has attempted to create a national redress scheme that includes multiple jurisdictions and different contexts of victimisation. This poses significant challenges for an optimal scheme design.”

She said the Royal Commission was receiving diverse views on what a monetary payment is for, which will be difficult to reconcile.

“Some see the payment in a future-oriented way–to build a new life with greater economic security. Others see it as recognition and acknowledgement of the past. Still others see it in legal terms–an assessment of past injury and its current impact.

“Although survivor groups want to be treated ‘the same’ for the harms suffered, they also stress the importance of recognising individual differences. That too, will be difficult to reconcile.”

Professor Daly is a member of Griffith University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Griffith Criminology Institute. She writes on gender, race, crime, and criminal justice; and on restorative, Indigenous, and transitional justice. Her recent work is on conventional and innovative justice responses to sexual and violent victimisation in different contexts of violence; and on redress, restoration, and reparation.

Professor Daly was recently awarded $514,000 by the Australian Research Council to research redress for institutional abuse in 20 world jurisdictions, including Australia.