Justice and Healing: Redress for survivors of harm and abuse.
1. Yooralla recognises the lifelong impact of abuse and harm upon survivors and their families. We are committed not only to the safety of our clients but also justice and healing for survivors of abuse and harm. This policy authorises and guides Yooralla in offering redress to survivors of serious harm or abuse arising from Yooralla’s services and supports.
2. This policy will establish a redress scheme for survivors of abuse or serious harm.
3. That redress may include:
a) An offer to cover the reasonable costs of counselling and psychological supports;
b) An offer for monetary payment;
c) An offer to receive a direct personal response in a manner that is meaningful and sensitive to the survivor;
d) An offer to cover the reasonable costs of other supports agreed between the survivor and Yooralla.
4. This policy is intended to cover offers of redress to Applicants who are clients, former clients, families and carers who have experienced serious harm or abuse arising from Yooralla’s services and supports.
5. This policy is intended to apply to abuse or serious harm caused by the action or inaction of Yooralla staff, contractors and volunteers.
6. This policy is not limited by the date of when abuse or serious harm occurred.
7. Yooralla is a participating organisation in the National Redress Scheme (NRS) for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. This policy will not apply to survivors who have made applications under the NRS but may apply to survivors who are eligible and have chosen not to apply through that scheme.
8. This policy does not cover the prevention or immediate response to reported abuse and serious harm. Other policies relevant to those matters are listed at the end of this document.
9. This policy will be applied in accordance with the following principles:
a) Zero tolerance to any form of abuse.
b) Equitable access, ensuring our processes are available to survivors through any means that they wish to use to communicate.
c) Trauma informed practice, including safety, choice, collaboration, trust and empowerment and a redress process that, as far as possible, is not adversarial.
d) Fair outcomes for survivors, while acting when required and to the extent necessary to defend our legitimate interests.
10. Yooralla will develop operational procedures which reflect and give practical effect to this policy, including the following provisions:
Applications for Redress
11. Yooralla will identify a Redress Officer who will receive and document the Application and provide information to the Applicant on this policy and other available supports.
12. Applications will be acknowledged in writing.
13. Yooralla will, on receipt of an application or inquiry, first seek to address any immediate concerns for the Applicant’s safety and wellbeing.
14. Yooralla will, on receipt of an application, offer referral to a range of support services including independent legal advice and advocacy to help an Applicant navigate and remain safe throughout the redress process. These supports may be offered without prejudice to the outcome of any later application.
Assessment of Applications
15. As with the existing NRS, Yooralla will consider applications against the test of “reasonable likelihood”.
16. Applicants will be expected and supported to disclose sufficient information for their application to be assessed.
17.Yooralla will not make Applicants prove things that Yooralla knows to be true (for example, the client’s identity and contact with our services), but may require evidence of other elements of the application.
18. Yooralla will review our own records to assess an application, but will not withhold information that would ordinarily be available to clients (including through Freedom of Information).
19. When deciding matters under this policy, Yooralla will strive to achieve consistency in outcomes – that is, similar outcome for claims in similar circumstances - while responding appropriately to any differences in claims.
20. Yooralla may seek assistance from lawyers in making assessments and determinations.
21. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, redress options available to survivors include:
a) An offer to cover the costs of counselling and psychological supports (separate to the monetary payment)
b) An offer for monetary payment in line with the National Redress Assessment Framework
c) An offer to receive a direct personal response in a manner that is meaningful and sensitive to the survivor. The response will typically include an apology or other symbolic gesture from Yooralla for the harm done to the survivor and may also include information on the steps Yooralla has taken or will take to prevent similar acts of abuse or harm occurring again.
Direct personal response
22. Yooralla will offer a direct personal response to survivors who have experienced abuse arising from supports and services provided by Yooralla.
23. Yooralla will engage independent, specialist facilitators in preparing for and facilitating a direct personal response.
24. The response may be in writing or in person in a manner and location determined by the survivor.
25. The response will usually be provided by Yooralla’s Chief Executive Officer or another senior executive, however this will depend on the circumstances and preferences of the survivor.
26. Yooralla will always be guided by the survivor and their individual preferences and circumstances to provide them a direct personal response.
Access to support and counselling
27. Yooralla will offer access and funding for counselling and therapeutic supports to survivors who have experienced abuse arising from supports and services provided by Yooralla.
28. These supports will generally be limited to the value of $5,000.
29. Yooralla will offer monetary payments to survivors who have experienced abuse arising from supports and services provided by Yooralla.
30. Yooralla will, to the extent possible, use the National Redress Scheme Assessment Framework to determine an offered amount of redress payment. The amount of money a person can receive will depend on their individual circumstances and experience of the abuse.
31. As with the NRS, redress payments will be limited to $150,000 for any applicant.
Acceptance and Settlement
32. Yooralla will aim to provide an offer to the survivor as early as possible and will not unreasonably delay an offer of settlement. A time limit for responding to final offers may be made by Yooralla.
33. Yooralla will ordinarily not require any terms of settlement to include confidentiality or non-disclosure clauses.
34. Acceptance of an offer of monetary payment will be conditional upon waiver of rights to litigation.
Review of a Decision
35. Applicants not satisfied with the outcome of their application may request a review of the decision.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Monitoring and Review
37. Yooralla will establish a Redress Committee which will monitor and guide responses to matters under this policy, and reflect on potential learning and improvements for the organisation.
38. This group will include representation from Yooralla’s Board of Directors.
39. Yooralla will monitor response of governments to the Disability Royal Commission and review or rescind this policy as required to ensure consistency of access and outcomes.
Yooralla acknowledges the contribution of the Yooralla Community Partnership Advisory Committee in the development of this policy. Yooralla thanks VALID for their work leading consultations with survivors, families and people with disability. Finally, Yooralla acknowledges the survivors of abuse and harm who have shared their experiences to improve access to justice and healing for other survivors.
Related Policies& Procedures
- Preventing and Responding to Abuse and Neglect (Statement of Intent)
Applicant: A person who has made an Application for redress under this scheme.
Direct personal response: The opportunity provided to an Applicant to receive an apology for the wrong done. A direct personal response provides an Applicant the opportunity to share their experience and receive an explanation from the institution on what has been done to prevent the abuse from occurring again.
Independent Legal Advice: Advice provided by a lawyer that is not paid by Yooralla and does not have conflict of interest in the process of representing an Applicant.
National Redress Assessment Framework: A tool used by the National Redress Scheme to guide a decision maker to determine the amount of monetary payment provided to a survivor.
National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse: A program for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse that offers counselling, a redress payment and a direct personal response from the institution that caused harm to a survivor.
Reasonable likelihood: the standard of proof Yooralla will apply when determining an Applicant’s eligibility for redress under this scheme. Reasonable likelihood means the chance of the person being eligible for redress is real, and is not fanciful or remote and is more than merely plausible.
Redress: the process of making compensation or reparation for something wrong. Redress under this policy refers to the acknowledgment, payment and personal response offered to person when they have suffered abuse or serious harm.
Redress Officer: Persons appointed by Yooralla to receive applications and provide information to the Applicant on the redress process.
Serious harm: an injury leading to permanent or significant physical or psychological impairment of a person, including death.
Survivor: A person who has suffered abuse or serious harm within the scope of this scheme.
Support Services: therapeutic supports agreed between the Applicant and Yooralla that will assist in the healing and recovery of the Applicant from the serious harm caused.
Trauma-informed practice: An approach to care that is holistic, empowering, strengths-focused, collaborative and reflective.