Goonellabah man Vernon Wilson has long been awaiting his payment under the National Redress Scheme and is living with a terminal illness.
Goonellabah man Vernon Wilson has long been awaiting his payment under the National Redress Scheme and is living with a terminal illness.

Terminally-ill abuse survivor finally receives redress offer

THERE has been progress for a terminally-ill Goonellabah man waiting many months to have his claim through the National Redress Scheme processed.

Vernon Wilson, an abuse survivor who was assaulted during his time with the Navy, had been waiting for movement on his claim for some nine months.

Mr Wilson, who just became a grandfather and is living with terminal lung cancer, had been hoping to spend his redress payment on visiting and spoiling his family for what could be his final Christmas.

Shine Lawyers had been handling his claim and had voiced concerns about the processing delays.

Since appearing on the front page of The Northern Star, Mr Wilson has received an offer of redress.
It's understood that is now subject to consideration.

Shine Lawyers abuse law expert Leanne McDonald welcomed the news Mr Wilson had received a claim, but said there were still flaws with the system.

"It's great that Vernon's claim was accelerated due to media attention and Page MP Kevin Hogan taking up Vernon's fight, but what about the remaining tens-of-thousands of victims who still have no clarity on the status of their application?" she said.

"We are yet to hear from the scheme on how this terrible backlog came about and what measures will be put in place to ensure these delays are rectified.

"The lack of compassion shown for victims who are terminally ill is an issue with the scheme that does need to be addressed.

"These victims deserve more than a scripted response which causes much frustration and anger for victims who are already suffering enough."

As of November 11, the redress scheme had received more than 5290 applications and made 814 decisions.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston has previously recognised survivors "have been waiting a long time for redress" and that the scheme was "not perfect".

Mr Hogan, who'd spoken to Ms Ruston about Mr Wilson's case, said he was pleased his claim had led to an offer.

"I'm very happy we were able to reach a conclusion on this," he said.

He said it would always be vital to "look at our processes to see how we can improve".

If this story has caused you distress or you need support, these crisis services are available 24/7:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800


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