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Published: 20 November 2016
Author: Amy Olver

Catholic Church to double compo for abuse survivors

Melbourne Response payments to rise from $75,000 to $150,000

The Archdiocese of Melbourne today announced that the compensation cap for survivors of abuse will be doubled from $75,000 to $150,000 under the church’s own redress scheme, dubbed the Melbourne Response.

The change will take effect from 1 January 2017 and is a result of the Hon. Mr Donnell Ryan QC's review of the Melbourne Response ('the Ryan Review') which commenced in April 2014.

Today’s announcement is a long time coming for survivors who have engaged in the process and comes swiftly after the announcement of the Commonwealth-led compensation scheme which was announced earlier this month and which also has a maximum payout of $150,000. Archbishop Hart acknowledged the delay in announcing the outcome of the review citing the delay by the Commonwealth Government as part of the reason for the lengthy review.

Potential top ups to compensation for previous recipients

In a move consistent with recommendations from the Royal Commission, the Melbourne Response intends to revisit previous survivor’s claims who received less compensation due the previous cap of $75,000.

Interestingly, the re-visited claims will be assessed differently depending on when they were brought. Survivors of abuse who proceeded through the Melbourne Response process following the announcement of the Ryan Review in April 2014 will receive the difference between what the survivor would have received if the cap in place at the time was $150,000.

However, survivors of abuse who proceeded through the Melbourne Response prior to the commencement of the Ryan Review will receive the difference but face an adjustment for inflation. What this means remains unclear.

Those who have proceeded through the Melbourne Response process since the announcement of the Ryan Review in April 2014 will be contacted to advise of any additional compensation available to them and the diocese have committed to making additional payments of compensation prior to Christmas.

However, those who proceeded via Melbourne Response prior to the announcement of the Ryan Review will need to be proactive and apply for their additional compensation by completing a form. This distinction seems somewhat arbitrary as it based on an internal timing decision by the Catholic Church.

Importantly though, the review does not require any survivor of abuse to go through the process again.

Survivors of abuse who have proceeded through Melbourne Response will find further information and forms at the following link www.cam.org.au/professional-standards.

Ryan Carlisle Thomas have acted for a number of client’s who have proceeded through the Melbourne Response.

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