Hardship payments & apology for care leavers announced

By Our Reporter
Representational // Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Premier Jacinta Allan of the Allan Labor Government has announced a historic formal apology to Victorians who suffered historical abuse and neglect as children in institutional care before 1990.

To address the hardships faced by these individuals, the Allan Labor Government is also introducing a hardship payment program. Eligible care leavers facing exceptional circumstances, such as those who are terminally or critically ill and experienced physical, psychological, or emotional abuse, can apply for a $10,000 hardship payment starting today.

A total investment of $7.5 million has been allocated to hardship payments and the design of a redress scheme. The scheme aims to provide support to those who, as a result of the abuse they suffered, continue to experience poverty, homelessness, and mental illness.

This initiative builds upon the existing National Redress Scheme established after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Government will collaborate with pre-1990 care leavers and key stakeholders in the development of the scheme, with the process set to commence shortly. Those who receive a hardship payment will still be eligible to apply for the Care Leavers Redress Scheme once it becomes available.

The Premier is set to make the formal apology at Parliament House at 10 am on Wednesday, 29 November.

The apology marks a significant step towards acknowledging the pain and trauma endured by care leavers who, before 1990, experienced abuse and neglect in orphanages, children’s homes, missions, and other out-of-home care facilities.

Over 90,000 children were placed in institutional care during this period due to economic stress, social disadvantage, orphanhood, single-parent households, or parental mental illness, an official press release said.

The formal apology event will be live-streamed on the Parliament of Victoria website new.parliament.vic.gov.au. Applications for hardship payments can be submitted through services.dffh.vic.gov.au/victorian-historical-care-leaver-redress-hardship-payments.

For additional information, inquiries can be directed to VictorianGovernmentRedressScheme@dffh.vic.gov.au. Pre-1990 care leavers seeking support are encouraged to contact Care Leavers Australasia Network or Open Place (Relationships Australia Victoria). Crisis help is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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