STOLEN GENERATIONS ABUSE SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN IN ROYAL COMMISSION WRAP UP

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.

Continue reading “STOLEN GENERATIONS ABUSE SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN IN ROYAL COMMISSION WRAP UP”

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Thanks for making the Sorry Day 20th Anniversary so special!

We had a really special day at this year’s Sorry Day event in Wellington Square. Being the 20th anniversary of the handing down of the Bringing Them Home Report it was a particularly important time. It couldn’t have happened without the support from many sponsors and volunteers and our friends at ReconciliationWA have produced this little video to say a big thank you!

Archie Roach 20th Anniversary Sorry Day Concert

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) and Yokai: Healing Our Spirit are proud to bring you the Sorry Day Twentieth Anniversary Concert at the Astor Theatre from 6:30pm Friday May 26, 2017. The concert features Archie Roach with support from local Aboriginal performers Gina Williams, Della-Rae Morrison, Candice Lorrae, Beni Bjah and the Madjitil Moorna Choir.

Archie Roach is a multi-award winning Aboriginal singer/songwriter who is best known for his advocacy for the Stolen Generations and for his song “Took the Children Away”, which has become the anthem for the Stolen Generations. Gina Williams, Della-Rae Morrison, Candice Lorrae, Beni Bjah are also award winning singers and songwriters so this is going to be a very special night showcasing some of the best Aboriginal performers in this country. Production for the night is being coordinated by well-known Noongar performer Phil Walley-Stack!
This is a significant anniversary for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as it commemorates the Twentieth Anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report in the Commonwealth Parliament. This landmark report into the Stolen Generations highlighted the past practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families and the ongoing impact of those policies. Most of the performers at this Twentieth Anniversary Concert have family connections to the Stolen Generations and they will be joined by Stolen Generations survivors and their families to acknowledge this anniversary.

Please come along and join us for what promises to be a memorable night!

When: 26 May 2017

Doors open: 6:30pm

Show time: 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Tickets available here or by calling 1300 111 369

Where: Astor Theatre, 659 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley 6050

Sorry Day 2017 is nearly here!

Sorry Day is nearly upon us again and this year is set to be a particularly special year. May 26, 2017 will mark 20 years since the handing down of the Bringing Them Home Report and to commemorate the occasion we have special guest Archie Roach playing for us along with a great range of other activities and performers.

We will continue to honour the resilience of the Stolen Generations and mourn the devastating impacts of past Government policy on Stolen Generations families at this and every Sorry Day. Sadly, we are yet to see the implementation of many of the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report and we hope you will continue to work with us for truth, justice and healing.

You can relive some of last year’s events through the video below and we hope you will join us again this year at Wellington Square, 10am-2pm, Friday May 26, 2017.

Close the Gap Solutions in Bringing Them Home Report

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) has reiterated its call for Commonwealth and State Governments to implement the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report if we are to see an improvement in the Closing the Gap Indicators.

“Yet again, we have seen the release of a Close the Gap Report which indicates that we are not seeing an improvement in indicators for Aboriginal, health, education and employment”, according to Jim Morrison, the Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“There were 54 recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report when it was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament nearly 20 years ago, and sadly very few of them have been implemented in that time.”

“The ongoing intergenerational trauma as a consequence of the practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families impacts on a vast majority of the Aboriginal community. Until this is acknowledged and programs put in place to tell the truth, provide justice and reparation and heal those impacted, the Close the Gap Report will continue to record negative trends.”

“It is heartening to see the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten, acknowledging that ‘…it’s at the heart of reconciliation, telling the truth, saying sorry, and making good.’ Perhaps he might like to kick off that debate with a review of the recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report!”

“We also wish to acknowledge the concerns raised by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in a speech at the ANU last night where he expressed the valid concern that we are seeing another Stolen Generation being formed. As he rightly said, ‘…we do not want another generation of young Aboriginal children unnecessarily separated from their culture. We do not want to see the emergence of a second Stolen Generation, not by design, but by default.”

“Sadly, the Bringing Them Home Committee is increasingly being asked to assist in cases where young Aboriginal children are being removed from their families and due to the lack of funding for Aboriginal community controlled organisations and programs, they are increasingly being placed in the care of non-Aboriginal organisations or families.”

“I can only hope that the disappointing Close the Gap report today might lead to some action. As Professor Fiona Stanley said at the launch of the Close the Gap campaign at Parliament House in Perth many years ago, we don’t need any new inquiries or reports. The Bringing Them Home Report and many other reports over many years have provided a way forward – we just need to implement the recommendations!” Jim Morrison concluded

Royal Commission Revelations Make Tough Reading for Stolen Generations

The recent revelations about the appallingly high level of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church makes tough reading for the Stolen Generations survivors as they continue with their struggle to get action from Governments on the 54 recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report that was produced 20 years ago.

“Whilst the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been welcomed by many in the Aboriginal Community, for others there is a great sense of frustration and anger that many of the issues being examined are similar to those raised during the hearings that were undertaken by the Human Rights Commission Inquiry into the Removal of Aboriginal Children”, according to Jim Morrison, Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“The Report of that Inquiry, which became known as the Bringing Them Home Report, was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on the 26th May 1997 and so this year we will be commemorating the twentieth anniversary of that significant report.”

“The Bringing Them Home Report included reference to the high level of sexual abuse in institutional care, including the staggering fact that “…stories of sexual exploitation and abuse were common in evidence to the Inquiry…and that at least one in every six (17.5%) of witnesses to the Inquiry reported such victimisation”(1).”

“Sadly, only a handful of the 54 recommendations contained in that report have been implemented by Commonwealth or State Governments over the past twenty years. The ongoing pain and trauma suffered by those abused children, and subsequently by their families as a result of intergenerational trauma, has not been acknowledged and reparation and culturally appropriate healing has not been made available to those people.”

“There will be significant events around Australia on 26th May 2017 to commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report. In Perth, we will be calling for action from Commonwealth and State Governments to implement the remaining recommendations and hope that the timing of these recent revelation in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will prompt a more sympathetic response!’ Mr Morrison concluded.

  • Bringing Them Home Report (1997) page 194

We Need To Tell The Truth On Australia Day

 

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) has called for all Australians to learn the truth about what has happened to the First People of this country since colonisation as we reflect on what it is to be Australian on Australia Day.

“As the representative body for Stolen Generations survivors and their families in WA, we ask in particular for a focus on the ongoing trauma being suffered by the Aboriginal community as a result of the past policies of removing Aboriginal children form their families”, according to BTHWA Co-Convenor, Jim Morrison.

“When Aboriginal leaders such as Robert Isaacs challenge Aboriginal people to “get past the hurts of the past”, he ignores the reality that there is still a massive gap in health, education and wellbeing measures between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in this country!”

“This “gap” is highlighted by the appointment today of Noongar man, Ken Wyatt, as Minister for Indigenous Health. This appointment is a worthy one and we should congratulate Mr Wyatt on his achievement but we would not have the need for a Minister for Indigenous Health if there was not a significant shortfall in Aboriginal health outcomes compared to the rest of the population.”

“Recent research has highlighted the sad reality that these inequities in health and wellbeing outcomes are even more significant for the Stolen Generations and their families. Whilst Mr Rudd’s Apology was symbolically important it will never lead to significant changes in outcomes until the rest of the Australian community understands the truth about what happened and supports Stolen Generations survivors and their families to heal.”

“Perhaps when that is achieved, we may be able to “get past the hurts of the past” and take up Mr Isaacs challenge but there is much to be done to tell the truth and heal the wrongs of the past before that can happen”, Mr Morrison concluded.

Sorry Day 2016 is nearly here!

Come along to this year’s Sorry Day commemoration event on Thursday May 26th at Wellington Square, East Perth 9:45am-1:45pm.

Preparations are well under way for another fantastic Sorry Day event. The WA Sorry Day event is now the largest event of its kind across Australia. The event is open to the whole community and is attended by up to 2,000 people. This year’s Sorry Day event will be exciting, engaging & meaningful to the whole community. We look forward to you being a part of the day.
Sorry Day 2016 flyer
We encourage you to come for any part of the formalities:
Opening formalities – 10:00am-10:40am
Cultural learning, sharing, healing activities and lunch- 10.40am -12.15pm
Sand mural performance, presentation- 12:15pm – 1:00pm
Smoking ceremony – 1:00pm – 1:45pm

Sorry Day 2015 Video

Sorry Day was such a great event we want to keep it alive and keep telling the story. So we had this video made with the help of the wonderful team at ReconciliationWA. Please share it around and pass on the healing that Sorry Day is all about.

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