The royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard how the NSW government agencies plan to make sure such crimes don’t happen again.
NSW may have to go far beyond its current victims of crime compensation cap of $10,000 when it comes to redress for victims of child sex abuse, the chair of the royal commission into child sexual abuse has flagged.
The chief executive of Juvenile Justice in NSW, Valda Rusis told the commission on Monday that the state government is looking at a compensation scheme for people who were abused when they were in state care.
She was giving evidence at the final day of a public hearing into how her predecessor departments and the NSW welfare agencies handled reports of abuse at two homes for girls – the Parramatta Training School for Girls and the Hay Institute for Girls in south western NSW.
The hearing, which started last Wednesday, has heard graphic evidence of extreme sexual and physical abuse committed against children as young as ten who were in those homes between 1950 and 1974.
Ms Rusis gave a detailed account of the current juvenile justice system and the checks that are now in place to ensure child abuse cannot happen.
Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan asked her if she had given any thought to the matter of redress.
Ms Rusis said she did not know if money would be the answer.
Counsel for four abuse victims, Simon Benson asked her personal opinion on the 2013 reforms to victims’ compensation in NSW which capped a payout for sexual abuse at $10,000 and $5,000 for physical abuse.
He asked if she thought this payment was sufficient for someone like Denise Luke.
Ms Luke gave evidence last week of severe sexual abuse from the time she was six at the hands of a family who fostered her and her brother.
The children were used sexually by the man and woman the state appointed as carers.
She was also raped at Parramatta Girls home.
Ms Rusis told Mr Benson she was loathe to give a personal opinion but she understood support for victims was part of the recent changes.
Justice McClellan pointed out that redress schemes were in place in Queensland and Western Australia and said the commission would be looking at these and others before making recommendations.
“It should not escape anyone that in the scheme of compensation schemes, beyond the state victims of crime compensation scheme $10,000 would never be considered to be sufficient monetary compensation for someone who has suffered as (Denise Luke) did,” he said.
“That is the starting point for a discussion which has a long way to go at this stage”.
Earlier Kate Alexander executive director, office of the senior practitioner, NSW Department of Family and Community Services told the commission that she understood redress options were being discussed but she had not seen any departmental documents on the matter.