Australia to apologise for child abuse under state care
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August 30, 2009 / Times of India
MELBOURNE: Australia on Sunday said it would formally say sorry to the hundreds of thousands of children who were abused and neglected while in state care, in a gesture similar to last year's acknowledgement of past injustices inflicted upon Aborigines.
The Australian Government's apology would help address terrible wrongs inflicted on the so-called "Forgotten Australians" and child migrants who suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse while in the care of government institutions, Australian Families Minister Jenny Macklin has said.
Macklin said, "the level of abuse and neglect had been unacceptable and it was now time to issue a formal apology", 'The Age' reported.
A 2004 Senate report estimated that at least 500,000 children had been placed in more than 500 orphanages, homes or other forms of care during the last century.
In February 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had apologised to Aboriginal people for centuries of injustice, including the "stolen generations" of indigenous children taken from their families and placed in foster care with white families or institutions.
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More has been written about the formal apology being sent to so many.
Meanwhile, little is being written about what is being done so history does not keep repeating itself.
Apologies are just words....
Thankfully, I was never in any kind of holding therapy or maltreatment by the state say past placing me in 9 foster homes and suffering sexual abuse in those foster homes. I feel for these children/adults that have had to suffer these things.
Regardless of that..something that popped out to me "As adult survivors, we need acknowledgment of and an apology for the harm that was done to us."
Really? Do you?
I feel as though if my kidnapper, my abusers and the people that hurt me came to me and said "We are sorry for what we have done for you" would be shallow. What I have learned in my recovery, actions and positive change are far more powerful catalyst's then a hollow "apology".
The best part of recovery is accepting what has happened to you and moving forward with your life to educate others. Apologies given or not.
What does a government owe its people?
While personal growth and victory are often the cornerstones of a productive life, I do believe each government involved in child placement schemes DO owe a blanket apology for past sins/mistakes and owe ALL people a promise to do much better so no more children are treated like those who were forced to suffer in-care.
Problem is, how often are empty promises part of a very heart-moving campaign speech?
Some of the comments related to the second-mentioned article do reflect a sense of frustration towards a government that does "too little too late"... for "certain people". This sentiment exists because so many DO know how certain members of church, family services, and state politics are protected from criminal investigation.
same as visiting the grave of your murder victim and saying sorry to make yourself feel better
"Educate others". <nodding> I agree. I also believe some of the best teachers around are the very children who were put in "less than safe" situations. Who else can help educate those who have no idea what it's like to be "sent away"?
Taken seriously is tough!
Great post. Sorry, I have been away in the woods teaching people survival skills the last few days. It's been hot, sticky and yucky. Not a drop of rain here, which I was hoping for..LOL. Great reply, I really like this post. When I am not resting up for the next hike I am hip deep in emails and new mailer campaigns.
Anyways, for survivors to be taken seriously takes a tremendous amount of fortitude from survivors to galvanize and become a BODY of survivors rather then an arguing, pragmatic and fractured group of people talking on the internet.
Once again, I agree with your post but before anyone actually is willing to listen to us as a group of survivors it's our job to galvanize, organize and promote that message both offline and online as beacon of hope and change.
Inspiring change and uttering the words are two different things.
" The very survival mechanics RAD Adult's use to survive slowly kill them" M.S.