It is “absolutely a good idea” that seriously ill or elderly survivors of abuse in care will have payments fast-tracked, an expert says.
On Tuesday, the government announced it would begin offering rapid payments to historical abuse-in-care claimants.
It meets one of the recommendations of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry made a year ago.
The payments are for those who are seriously ill, who are aged over 70 or who have waited the longest to get their claims considered.
Survivors who do not meet the fast track criteria will have to wait until the government’s new redress programme was up and running.
However, it is not yet clear when that will be.
Auckland University expert in redress and reparation Stephen Winter told Morning Report it was a good idea that survivors who were seriously ill or over 70 were prioritised.
“These kinds of programmes are designed to get some amount of money, some kind of remedy, to people who [are waiting] a long time and may not have a lot more time to wait.”
Winter said the payment was expected to be in the ballpark of existing structures which had averaged historically about $20,000.
“The last time they ran a similar fast track the averages came at about $16,000.
“The minister’s committed to the principle that people will be able to come back and put forward their full claim and perhaps whatever they get paid now under the fast track programme will be deducted from that.”
But Winter said the full redress programme would be more “holistic” and not just focused on the money.
“It’s about getting people support, counselling, access to their family record, that kind of stuff.”
Everyone wanted to see this done quicker, Winter said, and “time was of the essence”.
But at the same time, it was understood that it was complex and there was a great deal of details to work out.
The Ministry of Social Development has about 3000 historical claims and so far has offered money to 21 survivors, 16 of whom have accepted.
The Ministry of Education, which has about 250 claimants, was also working on a rapid payment scheme.
The Ministry of Health and Oranga Tamariki do not have historical claims queues, but will monitor the situation and look at rapid payments.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz