Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Treatment of payments received under Redress and Reparation Schemes

VLA can exercise discretion to exempt redress or reparations payments.

National Redress Scheme

Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) was established to provide support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

The Scheme commenced on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years. Redress payments are decided on an individual basis and can be up to $150,000. The Scheme is an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts.

Stolen Generation Reparations Package

On 31 March 2022, the Victorian Government opened the Stolen Generations Reparations Package. The package is to help address the trauma and suffering caused by the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families, community, culture, identity and language. The package offers a range of financial and restorative reparations to Stolen Generations survivors, including a lump sum payment of $100,000. Survivors will be able to apply for packages until 31 March 2027.

Other redress/reparation schemes

Other redress or reparations schemes may be established to acknowledge and provide redress to people who have suffered an historic injustice.These schemes vary in their application and period of operations but share common themes:

  • They are established by government
  • They target a specific identifiable group of people based on a shared exposure to a harm or wrong
  • The harm or wrong happened during a defined period in the past
  • They often use the language of redress or reparations

Redress and reparation schemes generally provide for the payment of a lump sum and support services to assist the affected person in their recovery and may offer affected people an alternative to pursuing a civil claim in the Courts.

Examples of some other redress and reparation schemes are:

  • The Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme – A Commonwealth scheme providing support to Stolen Generations survivors who were removed from their families or communities in three Australian Territories.
  • The Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme - The Scheme is available to former and current Victoria Police employees who have experienced workplace sex discrimination or sexual harassment.
  • The Fiskville Redress Scheme - A scheme to acknowledge past harm and support people impacted by activities at the former Fiskville Training College site between 1971 and 2015.
  • New South Wales Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Fund
  • Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme South Australia (applications now closed)

VLA assessment of payments received under redress and reparation schemes

VLA may exercise discretion to exempt redress or reparations payments received under these types of schemes.

Under the Means Test Discretion Policy, VLA can exercise discretion to waive the means test or any part of it or waive payment of a contribution or any part of it, if satisfied that there are compelling reasons. Compelling reasons are not defined but may include recognition of the circumstances and purpose for which the reparation/redress payment was made.

VLA’s Managing Debt Policy provides that it may exercise discretion to waive a (final) contribution if an assisted person requests this on the basis of financial hardship.

VLA will consider these policies in assessing any application for a grant of legal assistance where a payment has been received under a redress or reparation scheme.

Informing VLA

To assist VLA in exercising its discretion, an applicant for assistance, or a person who is receiving assistance, who has received a redress or reparations payment should advise VLA of:

  • The amount of the payment from the scheme; and
  • The name of the scheme and its jurisdiction.

Reviewed 22 May 2024

In this section