The operator of this website is the highly motivated community-minded Martin Mitchell from Australia (himself an instititionalised and abused minor in church institutions in the former West Germany)

Media release: The Forgotten Australians Senate Inquiry Report Release


A Senate Inquiry into the abuse of children when cared for in institutions and out of their homes has found evidence of widespread emotional, physical and sexual abuse, says Inquiry Chair, Senator Jan McLucas.

Trevarthen, Cora (Sen J. McLucas)

August 30, 2004

"The Committee heard graphic stories of neglect, deprivation of food, education and health care, as well as more disturbing accounts of physical and sexual assault.

"These problems cross the entire spectrum of institutional care, whether administered by the State, religious bodies or other charitable groups.

"The legacy of a general lack of love and affection has blighted the lives of many who experienced institutional care, and this sad legacy of depression, guilt, fear and distrust, anger and shame is a blight on this society's care for its most defenceless members: our children.

"The magnitude and widespread occurrence of abuse provides evidence of the need for a fundamental reappraisal by such institutions of their responsibility for this parlous history.

The Committee received an unprecedented 614 submissions, many of which are confidential. Given the breadth of the issues that have been raised, this Report is the first of two which will be tabled. This report, "Forgotten Australians" focuses on the experience of children who were placed in care from the 1920's until the 1970's when changes to placement policy occurred.

Senators have adopted a comprehensive set of 39 recommendations aimed at addressing these problems and enabling the healing process to begin for many victims.

These include

* That a formal statement apologising for and acknowledging the hurt and distress caused to those who suffered in institutional care be issued by the Commonwealth Government, as well as by those State, Church and welfare agencies who have not already done so,

* That the States consider amending legislation to abolish any statutory restrictions on the timing of legal proceedings by survivors of sexual or physical abuse, in the light of the SA experience.

* That the Commonwealth Government establish a national reparations fund for victims of institutional abuse, funded by contributions from Commonwealth and state governments, churches and relevant welfare agencies,

* That new protection and complaints handling measures be put in place, backed up by an external complaints review process, such as an independent ombudsman.

"These are wide ranging and necessary reforms," said Senator McLucas.

"The full cooperation of all agencies and institutions is of fundamental importance to facilitate the overdue healing process."

It is the majority view of the Committee that if these agencies do not cooperate openly with authorities then the option of a Royal Commission should be considered.

"As beneficial as this Committee's processes have been to care leavers, the fact remains that many providers have been less than open, to the point of concealment of information that a Royal Commission may be the only way that criminal acts are brought to light," Senator McLucas concluded.

Members of the media are encouraged, wherever possible, to cite relevant contact numbers of support and counselling services which are provided overleaf for your convenience.


Canberra 30/08/2004

Media inquiries: Cora Trevarthen 0418-770 484.

A copy of the Forgotten Australians report can be accessed at


The following is a list of contact numbers for support and counselling services that can assist care leavers who may wish to talk to someone following the tabling of the Committee's report.

New South Wales and National

CLAN (02) 9709 4520
1800 008 774
(from Victoria only)

Adolescent Family Therapy and Mediation Service (RAPS) 1800 654 684
Aftercare Resource Centre (ARC) 1800 656 884

VANISH 1800 334 043
03 9348 2111

Historical Abuse Network (HAN) 07-3844 0966
(The Esther Centre)
Aftercare Resource Centre (ARC) 1800 501 560
07 3255 2848

Western Australia
CBERSS 1800 621 805
08 9381 5422

Ombudsman 1800 001 170

[ South Australia

(Advocates For Survivors

of Child Abuse) Goodwood
08 84116255 ]

By Editor at 30/08/2004 - 22:08

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[ Date of first publication on this Website: 30 August 2004 ]


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