The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA), the major advocacy organization for the Stolen Generations in WA, has called for Commonwealth and State Governments to ensure that the plight of the Stolen Generations is not forgotten as the Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is analysed and policy responses developed.
“The significant level of sexual abuse suffered by Stolen Generations children over many generations was confirmed when the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled over 20 years ago yet little has been done to implement the many recommendations in that landmark Report!” (Refer extract below), according to Tony Hansen, the Co-Chair of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).
“The recent Royal Commission Report indicated that approximately 15% of people who gave evidence to that Inquiry were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and it is likely that the majority of those people were forcibly removed from their families as part of Government policies that became known as the Stolen Generations. This is five times the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the broader population!”
“The Bringing Them Home Report contained 54 recommendations that can be broadly summarised under the headings of Truth, Justice and Healing, which is ironically the name given to the Catholic Church body established to oversee the Church’s response to the work of the Royal Commission.”
“The Bringing Them Home Report recommendations have largely been ignored by Governments. There is little acknowledgement of the Truth about the forcible removal of Aboriginal children form their families; there has been little in the way of Justice apart from some outrageously low compensations payments under the Redress scheme in WA; and the Healing is only just beginning through the Bringing Them Home Committee’s innovative Yokai: Healing Our Spirit initiative.”
“We will be looking to Commonwealth and State Governments and the various Churches who failed our children to commit to the proposed Redress Scheme and to the implementation of the recommendations in the Royal Commission Report but also to review the recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report which acknowledge the specific plight of Aboriginal children”
“If we want our families to heal and end the cycle of intergenerational trauma, the solutions are to be found in the recommendations of the Royal Commission Report and the Bringing Them Home Report – it is time for action!” Tony Hansen concluded.
For further comment: Tony Hansen on 0417 610 412
EXTRACT: Bringing Them Home Report (pp 193-195)
Chapter 11 The Effects
The effects of abuse and denigration
In institutions and in foster care and adoptive families, the forcibly removed children’s Aboriginality was typically either hidden and denied or denigrated. Their labour was often exploited. They were exposed to substandard living conditions and a poor and truncated education. They were vulnerable to brutality and abuse. Many experienced repeated sexual abuse.