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National Apology Needed Over Australia’s Forced Adoptions

1 March 2012 at 2:17 pm
Staff Reporter
The Senate inquiry into Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices in Australia wants State and Federal Governments and non-government institutions to make a formal apology acknowledging that the practices were illegal or unethical.

Staff Reporter | 1 March 2012 at 2:17 pm


National Apology Needed Over Australia’s Forced Adoptions
1 March 2012 at 2:17 pm

The Senate inquiry into Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices in Australia wants State and Federal Governments and non-government institutions to make a formal apology acknowledging that the practices of forced adoptions were illegal or unethical.

The Senate has released its findings in Canberra making dozens of recommendations including financial assistance to provide professional help services and a national framework to address the consequences of former forced adoption be developed by the Commonwealth, states and territories.

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government issue a formal statement of apology that identifies the actions and policies that resulted in forced adoption and acknowledges, on behalf of the nation, the harm suffered by many parents whose children were forcibly removed and by the children who were separated from their parents.

The committee goes further to recommend that state and territory governments and non-government institutions that administered adoptions should issue formal statements of apology that acknowledges practices that were illegal or unethical.

The committee says that official apologies should include statements that take responsibility for the past policy choices made by institutions' leaders and staff, and not be qualified by reference to values or professional practice during the period in question.

As well it says the formal apologies should always be accompanied by undertakings to take concrete actions that offer appropriate redress for past mistakes.

The Committee has also recommended financial compensation.

The committee says financial contributions be sought from state and territory governments, institutions, and organisations that were involved in the practice of placing children of single mothers for adoption to support the funding of services to establish affordable and regionally available specialised professional support and counselling services as well as peer-support groups to address the specific needs of those affected by former forced adoption policies and practices.

The report has described the way in which it says unmarried pregnant women were disempowered both in maternity homes and in the community.

The report says many parents have recounted the long-lasting and extreme experience of trauma that has resulted from their children being adopted against their will.

“The painful, sometimes disastrous effects of forced adoption hurt the mothers, but also rippled outward through families. The committee heard that some adopted people endured harsh treatment as children, and experience continued issues with identity, self-esteem and belonging.”

“For fathers and other family members the complex consequences of forced adoption continue to be experienced.”

The Report says the witness accounts given as evidence to this inquiry greatly disturbed the committee. Most significantly, they point to ongoing health and welfare problems that need to be addressed.

The issues that were raised with the committee concerned adoptions that took place between the late 1950s and the mid 1970s.

On November 15 2010, the Senate referred to the Community Affairs References Committee an inquiry into former forced adoption policies and practices.

Originally intended to report by June 30 2011, the large volume of submissions and the complexity of the subject led the committee to ask for extensions first to November 21 2011, and then to February 29 2012. The inquiry was chaired by WA Greens spokesperson for Community & Disability, Senator Rachel Siewert.

The full report can be found here. 

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  • Anonymous says:

    National Apology Needed Over Australia’s Forced Adoptions…well i hope they get more than us forgotten australians…remember us……tactical move by a womans government flash in the the stolen-forgotten Australians out of sight out of mind….oh clan doesnt sperak for all of us clan membership is only 1300 we are over 500,00

  • Judith says:

    I am a birth mother of 40 years (Sth Aus). My son has a veto in place which is currently ongoing. This is a wonderful day in the history of Australia and will be even more so when a National Apology is given to all of us affected throughout this nation. The Commonwealth Government must implement the Recommendations and begin to make ammends for the illegal and unethical practices of the past. No-one can understand the pain and trauma of losing a child to adoption except another birth mother; for us there is a shared understanding even without words. This event affects the whole of a woman’s life! May all of us affected, our families, our stolen children, and this whole nation of Australia learn the truth. These things did happen! and they were wrong! and we have lived with years of shame and grief. Time to understand and heal.

    • Jacqui says:

      I am a MOTHER…the others are ADOPTERS…the word Birth Mother is an adoption industry term used to insinuate we were just gestational carriers…I find it offensive, though I realize it is not your intention to offend…don’t fall into their language trap…you are your son’s mother, nothing can change that…BTW Veto’s aren’t worth the paper they’re written on and are usually the adopters way of excluding you from your son’s life…I find it hard to believe that anyone would prosecute you for seeking your stolen child.

      • kylie hubner says:

        Hi my daughter was ripped out of my arms i was druged, and thrown in mental health, i now been diagnosed by specialist with adhd i’m so sacred for my life because i’m fighting for our rights to be together, i’m being punished for caring to must i don’t know who to trust.

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