The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to social security payments. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

2.4 Applying for redress with serious criminal convictions


For the purposes of the Scheme, a person has a 'serious criminal conviction' when they have been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 5 years or longer for an offence in Australia or another country.

If a person has a serious criminal conviction, the Operator must determine that the person can be entitled to redress. To make this decision, the Operator must undertake a special assessment process.

Special assessment process

The Operator will start the special assessment process to determine that providing redress to a person with a serious criminal conviction would not negatively affect public confidence in the Scheme. This process involves the Operator:

  • asking the person applying for redress for further information, and
  • asking for written advice from the Attorneys-General (or specified advisor) of the jurisdiction where the abuse occurred and where the person was sentenced.

The Operator's will write to each relevant Attorneys-General (or specified advisors):

  • asking for advice about whether the Operator should make a determination, and
  • including enough information about the person applying that would allow the relevant Attorneys-General to provide their advice.

The Attorney-General (or their specified advisor) is provided a period of at least 28 days from the date of the Operator's letter to provide the advice.

Making a determination on entitlement

When the Operator receives the advice from the Attorneys-General (or specified advisors), the Operator will make a determination that considers:

  • any advice given by the Attorneys-General or specified advisor
  • the nature of the offence the person was convicted of
  • the length of the sentence of imprisonment
  • how long it has been since the person committed the offence
  • any rehabilitation of the person, and
  • any other matters considered relevant in making the determination.

In making their determination of entitlement, the Operator will place greater importance on the advice provided by the jurisdiction where the person applying for redress experienced abuse.

Sentenced after applying for redress

If after applying for redress, a person is sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years or more for an offence in Australia or another country, the person must notify the Scheme in writing of this change in circumstances as soon as practicable.

Act reference: NRSAct section 181 Persons or institutions giving notices to the Operator

Policy reference: Redress guide Part 2 Applying for redress

Last reviewed: