People who suffered abuse or neglect as a child in State care are being encouraged to apply for the $114million Redress WA scheme before it closes in three months.
Community Services Minister Robyn McSweeney said time was running out and many eligible people would miss out if they did not apply before April 30.
The State Government today launched a television and print advertising campaign to remind people to apply to the Redress WA scheme, which is open to anyone who was abused or neglected as a child in State care before 2006.
Those eligible to apply include child migrants, former wards of the State, including Aboriginal people put in care as children, and anyone placed in State-approved private institutions and foster homes. People who have moved interstate or overseas are also eligible.
Mrs McSweeney said about 800 applications had been received so far.
“Anyone who thinks that they may be eligible must move quickly,” she said.
“People do not need to make this journey alone. I realise that it can be very stressful to make an application and professionals are available to help people fill out the forms.
“Assessments will immediately start after the closing date so that everyone can be paid by December 2010.”
Applicants may be eligible for an ex-gratia payment of up to $10,000 for reasonable likelihood of abuse or up to $80,000 for proof of medical or psychological problems stemming from abuse.
The Minister said that people lodging a Redress WA application did not forego the opportunity to pursue other compensation avenues.
“Next year when we make a payment offer, we will provide applicants with $1,000 of independent legal advice and allow 60 days before a decision is needed,” she said.
“Only then will the Government require a waiver against civil legal action to be signed.
“All applicants can still take action, if they wish, against non-government agencies.”
Mrs McSweeney said Redress WA had a fixed budget which meant that all applications had to be assessed before decisions could be made about individual financial offers, except where applicants had a life-threatening illness. The closing date would not be extended.
Free independent help is available State-wide by phoning 1800 617 233. Interstate callers can phone 1800 446 264.
Minister's office - 9222 8950