National apology to people affected by forced adoption practices
On 21 March 2013, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard apologised on behalf of the Australian Government to people affected by forced adoption or removal policies and practices. The national apology was delivered in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra.
A transcript of the Prime Minister's speech is available from the Prime Minister of Australia website.
Following the event in the Great Hall, motions of apology were moved in the House of Representatives by the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC and in the Senate by Senator Stephen Conroy.
More information about the National Apology can be found at the Attorney-General’s Department website.
Australian Government Response to the Senate Inquiry
The Government’s response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry Report into Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices was also announced on 21 March 2013.
- Australian Government response to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Report: Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices [DOC 39kB] | [PDF 82kB]
The Australian Government has invested $11.5 million over the next four years to assist those affected by forced adoption practices.
- $5 million to improve access to specialist support services, peer and professional counselling and supported records tracing for those affected by forced adoptions
- $5 million to:
- develop guidelines and training materials for mental health professionals to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and care of those affected by forced adoption practices
- increase capacity under the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPs) program, for general practitioners to refer those affected by forced adoption practices with a mild to moderate mental disorder to mental health professionals who deliver focussed psychological strategies services
- $1.5 million for a website and exhibition by the National Archives of Australia to record the experiences of those affected by forced adoption and increase awareness and understanding of these experiences in the community.
If a person wishes to access the ATAPS services, they should approach their GP.
For more information on how to contribute to the exhibition, contact the National Archives of Australia.
The Government, through FaHCSIA, will now begin work to determine what service types will best meet the ongoing needs of people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices. FaHCSIA will work with key stakeholders and state and territory governments to identify what will work to best link people to the services they need. While it will take time to improve access to specialist services and records tracing support, the end result will better achieve service integration and complement what is already available.
For further information about the Australian Government’s response to the Senate Inquiry recommendations, contact email@example.com
Impacts of past adoption practices
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has undertaken research to improve the understanding of the impacts of past forced adoption practices:
- Past adoption experiences : National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices 2012
Support and advocacy services
There are support and advocacy organisations in each state and territory which provide assistance to people affected by past forced adoptions.