MEDIA RELEASE – 26th May 2020

Tuesday 26th May 2020 is the 23rd Anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report in the Commonwealth Parliament. This landmark Report by the Australian Human Rights Commission was the culmination of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.

Bringing Them Home WA (BTH) and the WA Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (WASGAC) would normally be jointly hosting a major commemorative event at Wellington Square, but due to COVID-19 restrictions we have instead developed an online “event” in partnership with Curtin University. This “online event”, which features interviews with Stolen Generations Survivors and documentaries from Curtin’s Noongar Dandjoo television program will be accessible by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1ePDyvOw3s

WASGAC Managing Director, Jim Morrison has consulted widely with its 400 members, who are predominantly Stolen Generations Survivors and their Descendants, about the priority issues that are of concern to them. “Sadly, there is still widespread concern about the ongoing trauma associated with their removal from families and the intergenerational trauma that impacts on their children and grandchildren. These Stolen Generations Survivors are still looking for psychological support and long-term strategies for healing”.

“It is important for all levels of Government to understand that this trauma has been heightened through the social isolation requirements associated with COVID-19. The general health of all Aboriginal peoples, but particularly for the Stolen Generations, is significantly worse than the broader community so many families have been forced into lockdown to avoid the risk of infection but this has impacted on their psychological wellbeing!”

BTH Co-Chair, Tony Hansen, a Stolen Generations Survivor from Marribank Mission, added: “The other priority issue for Stolen Generations Survivors is the ongoing fight for compensation. Survivors who suffered sexual abuse have options open to them to pursue compensation through the Redress Scheme established as a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse or through the Civil Courts, but this comes with the added burdens associated with re-traumatisation”.

However, Bringing Them Home Report Recommendations 3 and 4 proposed compensation
or reparation for all Survivors to acknowledge the trauma associated with removal from
their families and loss of culture and Survivors are still waiting for the WA State Government
to take action in this regard. The NSW, Tasmanian, South Australian and Victorian
Governments have all established compensation schemes and Survivors in WA, where the
impact of removal policies was most profound, are still waiting!”

“As we commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report, it is time for
the WA Government to stand up and acknowledge the unfinished business associated with
the Bringing Them Home Report, Mr Hansen concluded.

Further comment: Jim Morrison 0408 917 133 or Tony Hansen 0417 610 412

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