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 relevant legislation/policy. 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.

5.3 Direct personal response


A direct personal response (DPR) is one of the 3 components offered through the Scheme to eligible people.

Participating in a DPR is an opportunity for people who have experienced abuse while in the 'care' of an institution to share their experience of abuse with a senior representative of the institution. This is an opportunity for the person to have a senior representative of the institution hear, recognise and acknowledge their experience. The institution's representative may apologise on behalf of the institution and explain the steps the institution has taken or will take to prevent abuse happening again in the future.

A DPR can be given through a face-to-face meeting between a person and a senior representative of the institution, a written letter, or any other method preferred by the person and agreed to by the institution.

All participating institutions must participate in a DPR with a person who requests it, except where it would risk causing harm. Institutions must provide DPRs in line with the National Redress Scheme DPR Framework.

Requesting a DPR

When a person requests a DPR in their acceptance document, the Scheme will advise the responsible institution. The Scheme will also send the person the contact details of the relevant DPR contact at the responsible institution. When they are ready, the person seeking the DPR will need to speak to the DPR contact. The DPR contact will assist the person to arrange their DPR.

Alternatively, the person can call the Scheme on 1800 737 377 and ask to speak to the DPR Information and Support service. This service can provide more information about DPR and provide assistance to decide what form the DPR should take. The service can also contact the institution on the person’s behalf.

What institutions should consider when providing a DPR

  • Institutions should be responsive to the person's needs when arranging and engaging a DPR.
  • The wishes of the person seeking a DPR should guide the extent and nature of any contact between the person and the institution.
  • Institutions should not offer or agree to provide any type of DPR that they are not prepared to provide or cannot provide safely.
  • Institutions should make efforts to accommodate a person’s preferences about the gender, cultural background or other characteristics of the institutional representative that delivers their DPR.
  • Institutional representatives should receive training to understand the DPR process and the nature and impact of child sexual abuse. Cultural awareness and sensitivity training should also be undertaken where relevant.
  • When a DPR is arranged, the institution should confirm the arrangements in writing to the person.
  • Institutions must pay reasonable costs associated with the DPR.

Face-to-face DPR

If a person wants a face-to-face DPR, the institution should make efforts to give the DPR at an agreed time and place and ensure that the format and content of the meeting are discussed and agreed beforehand. This includes whether the person is prepared to talk about their experience of abuse at the institution. The person may also bring along a support person/s to the pre-meetings and DPR meeting such as a family member, friend, counsellor, or support service. Face to face meetings can include other people who were abused in the same institution, if the institution and all participants agree, and this can be done safely and effectively.

DPR letters

A person may request a letter of apology from a senior representative of a responsible institution as their DPR. To be meaningful, the letter of apology and acceptance of responsibility by the institution should:

  • reflect and respond to the particular experience and concerns of the person who has been abused
  • be sincere and unequivocal
  • include a clear and unambiguous recognition that the action and/or inaction was wrong and should not have happened
  • include the degree of specificity the person is seeking, while taking care to avoid potentially triggering content
  • be clear and succinct, and
  • express genuine care, concern, and empathy.

Confidentiality of DPR

All aspects of the DPR are confidential, unless all participants agree otherwise, or a threat to human life, health or safety is revealed through the DPR.

Delaying or stopping a DPR

  • Participation is voluntary for the person engaging in the DPR process. They can delay or stop the DPR at any time.
  • Any other person involved in the DPR may delay or stop the DPR at any time if they have concerns about the health or safety of anyone participating in the DPR.
  • If the person delays the DPR or does not attend a meeting, the institution must make reasonable efforts to reschedule.
  • If the DPR is delayed or stopped by any other person, the institution must offer to resume the DPR as soon as possible or provide another kind of DPR.
  • All participants, (including the person, any support person/s, institutional representative, and facilitator as applicable) should receive a clear explanation of the DPR arrangements and agree to participate on that basis.
  • The participating institution participates in DPR on the basis that the person's account has been accepted. The institutional representative must not question the person's experience.

When a DPR is not required

An institution does not have to engage in a DPR if:

  • the person does not request a DPR in their acceptance document
  • the person does not make contact with the institution to arrange their DPR before the Scheme sunset day (30 June 2028), or does not respond to reasonable attempts by the institution to arrange the DPR
  • the person has told the institution they want to stop participating in the DPR process, or
  • the person has already received a DPR from the institution under the Scheme.

Review & reporting of DPRs

Institutions must ask people for feedback on their DPR and give people details for how to provide feedback or complaints. The institution must make efforts to address feedback and complaints.

Institutions must provide annual reporting data to the Scheme in the approved format.

Act reference: NRSAct Part 2-5 Division 4 Direct personal responses

NRS DPR Framework

NRS Rules section 75(h) details relating to the provision of direct personal responses in the year

Last reviewed: