Complaints from past care leavers
Since 1877, many thousands of children and young people have been assisted by Berry Street and our founding agencies, including Sutherland Homes and Lisa Lodge.
Sadly, we know that a small number of children and young people experienced abuse or neglect while in our care or through their service contact with Berry Street.
As the current custodians, our Board of Directors, executive and staff accept that in our many years of operation harm has occurred to some children and young people in our care. For this we deeply and most sincerely apologise.
How to make a complaint if you are a past care leaver
If you are a past client who experienced abuse in care with Berry Street you can lodge a complaint with us or make an application through the National Redress Scheme.
How to apply through the National Redress Scheme
Berry Street is now participating in the National Redress Scheme.
The National Redress Scheme provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
It was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia.
Redress is an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts.
The National Redress Scheme can provide:
- access to counselling
- a payment
- a direct personal response from the institution (e.g. an apology).
The scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years.
Berry Street has joined the Scheme. This means people who were abused in the care of Berry Street can apply to the Scheme for redress.
People can apply now using an online or paper form.
Free and confidential Redress Support Services are available throughout the process. This information can help explain the Scheme and who can apply.
For more information, visit the National Redress Scheme website or call the National Redress Scheme line on 1800 737 377.
Who can apply?
You can apply to the National Redress Scheme if:
- you experienced sexual abuse when you were a child (under 18 years of age), and
- the abuse happened before 1 July 2018, and
- an institution was responsible for bringing you into contact with the person who abused you, and
- you were born before 30 June 2010, and
- you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Claims of abuse managed outside of the National Redress Scheme
If you grew up in Berry Street’s care and you wish to lodge a complaint outside of the National Redress Scheme, you can lodge a complaint directly with Berry Street.
Our Past Abuse Complaints Policy sets out how Berry Street manages complaints that allege abuse or neglect of children who have been in the care of or in-service contact with Berry Street and our founding agencies.
The scope of this policy extends to:
- All persons who have been in the care of Berry Street and any of its founding agencies since 1877. This includes agencies with which Berry Street has amalgamated or merged with, including Sutherland Homes and Lisa Lodge; and
- All forms of child abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, cultural abuse and neglect.
Read the past servicer user complaints policy
Support in making a complaint if you are a past care leaver
If you would like to make a complaint or require any further information, please contact the Past Client Services Team:
Letter: PO Box 2171, Richmond 3121
Telephone: 9429 9266