INQUIRY INTO CHILDREN IN INSTITUTIONALISED CARE
On Tuesday 4 March 2003, the Democrat's Senator Andrew Murray stood up in the Australian Senate and proposed to the Parliament that an Inquiry be held into what happened to us in 'care' in the past. The motion was passed and now we have our report. CLAN met Senator Murray in 2001 and did a lot of lobbying to help him get up the Inquiry, which has been conducted by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee over the past year and a half.
The full title of “Forgotten Australians” is ‘A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children’. It is 410 pages long, with 39 Recommendations, one of which, recommendation 20, is that there should be on-going funding to CLAN to help them continue their work and extend their services.
Other important recommendations are that the Commonwealth Government and all State Governments and Churches and agencies ”issue a formal statement acknowledging, on behalf of the nation, the hurt and distress suffered by many children in institutional care, particularly the children who were victims of abuse and assault; and apologising for the harm caused to these children”; and that a national Reparations Fund for victims of institutional abuse in institutions and out-of-home care settings be set up. This should be funded by both the Commonwealth and the State Governments along with the Churches and other agencies.
The report has 11 chapters. The Introduction describes how the Inquiry was conducted and gives a summary of previous inquiries, like the Forde Inquiry in Queensland in 1999. Other chapters cover a description of institutional care in Australia; why children were in Homes; the treatment and care of children in institutions; why abuse occurred and was able to continue; the life long impact on survivors of this care; responsibility, acknowledgment and apology; reparation and redress schemes; identity and records; provision of services; and the recognition of Care Leavers by society.
At the back of the report there is a list of all people who appeared before the committee, and a list of all the public submissions, also a list of all the Homes and institutions referred to in submissions by Care Leavers. » Click here to read a brief summary of some of the findings of the inquiry. If you put in a submission to the Inquiry, you will receive a copy of the report in the mail, and you may have already done so.
You can also read the public submissions, and the evidence that was given at the hearings in the capital cities.