Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children

Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children

30 August 2004

© Commonwealth of Australia 2004

ISBN 0 642 71239 5

View the report as a single document - (PDF format - 1866 Kb)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Membership of committee (PDF format) (HTML format)
Executive summary (PDF format) (HTML format)
Recommendations (PDF format) (HTML format)
Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF format) (HTML format)

Terms of reference
Conduct of Senate Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care
  The report
Perspectives of institutional care
Recent reports on children's institutions and institutional life
  Bringing them home
  Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (Forde Report)
  Lost Innocents: Righting the Record
  Tasmanian Ombudsman's interim report on abuse of children in State care
  Other reports
  Commentary on the above reports

Chapter 2 - Institutional care in Australia (PDF format) (HTML format)
Framework of children's institutional care - Australia
Policies of governments placing children in care
  The role of governments, churches and other groups
  Developments - institutions versus boarding-out (foster care)
  Moves from institutions to other forms of care
  Trends in types of care, including move towards foster care
  Government responsibility and initiatives for children in institutions
    Attitudes of government officials who placed children in care
    Government financial contributions to non-government children's homes
    Government financial assistance to parents
  Number of children in institutional care
Legislative framework, including Commonwealth’s role
  Background of child welfare laws
  An overview - provisions of the child protection laws
  Laws to protect children and young people - inadequaciesand contraventions
Major organisations and their institutions for children
  Early-days developments
  Industrial Schools
  Juvenile Justice Detention Centres
More contemporary times for children's institutions
  Catholic institutions
  Anglican (Church of England)
  Salvation Army
  Uniting Church
  Wesley - Dalmar
  Burnside - Presbyterian
  Uniting Protestant Association Homes
  Plymouth Brethren (ie, Silky Oaks)
  Barnardos Australia
  Government organisations
    New South Wales
    Western Australia
  Experiences of various homes and orphanages
  Comparisons of homes with jails
  Experiences of other homes
Chapter 3 - Why children were in homes (PDF format) (HTML format)
  State wards
  Legislative provisions of wardship
    New South Wales
  Care leavers' experiences of wardship processes
  Other children in care
Reasons for children being place in homes
  Single parents (usually mother)
  Death of a parent or parents
  Parents' divorce or separation
  Parent(s) unable to care for children
  Economic stress and social disadvantage
  Children abandoned
  Sexual abuse by a parent
  Children escaping domestic violence and parental alcoholism
  Repatriation children
Chapter 4 - Treatment and care of children in institutions (PDF format) (HTML format)
Receiving children into care
  Health checks, delousing and body searches
  Removal of belongings and clothes
Physical environment and living conditions
  Buildings and accommodation
  Personal hygiene
Depersonalisation and other forms of psychological abuse
  Lack of love and affection
  Suppression of identity and individuality
    Lack of privacy
  Visits by family members
  Forms of Punishment
    Isolation, including locking in cupboards and cells
    Standing on spot for hours
  Secondary abuse
Discipline and physical assault
Sexual assault
Separation of families
  Separation of siblings
  Forced adoption of babies
Lack of education
Unmet health needs
Work and exploitation of children in care
  Types of work performed
  Exploitation of children
  Non payment of wages
Use of experimental medications and drugs
Children placed in mental homes and other inappropriate accommodation
Fostering arrangements, including holiday placements
Deaths in institutions
Transition from in care to independence
Good memories
Chapter 5 - Why abuse occurred and was able to continue (PDF format) (HTML format)
  Stories only recently coming to light
  Culture of the institutions, organisations, churches
  Institutional staff and other carers
    Lack of staff education and training
    Suitability of staff
  Deception of parents and children
Reaction to disclosures about institutions
  Children were better off in care
  Standards were different then
  They should get on with their life
Chapter 6 - Life long impact of out of home care (PDF format) (HTML format)
  Quality of life
  Relationship problems
  Parenting skills
    Perspective from wives and partners
    Perspective from children
  Generational issues
On-going health issues
  Post traumatic stress disorder and depression
  Substance abuse - drug and alcohol addictions
  Compulsive and other behavioural issues
Ongoing problems with anger, grief, identity and self-esteem
Homelessness and other housing problems
Educational attainment
Adult anti-social or criminal activity
Cost to individuals, families and society
  Quantifying costs
    Benefits of providing services
Chapter 7 - Responsibility, acknowledgement and apology (PDF format) (HTML format)
Role and responsibility of governments and non-government bodies
Duty of care
    Internal processes
Acceptance and denial of responsibility
Acknowledgment and apology
Apologies to ex-residents
Views on the need for an apology
Views on an acknowledgment
Chapter 8 - Reparation and redress schemes (PDF format) (HTML format)
Measures of reparation
Civil litigation
  Limitation periods
    Proving injury
    Vicarious liability
  The adversarial system
  Cost of litigation
Reparations - theory and overseas developments
  International law and reparations
Redress/reparations schemes in overseas countries
  Redress packages in Canada
Redress packages in Australia
  The Churches/agencies
  Other packages
  Monetary compensation - the Australian context
Internal Church redress processes
  The Catholic Church
  Other Churches/agencies
    Salvation Army
    Uniting Church
    Anglican Church
Victims compensation tribunals
The need for a Royal Commission
  The nature and role of Royal Commissions
  A Royal Commission into institutional abuse
Chapter 9 - Identity and records (PDF format) (HTML format)
Searching for records
Accessing records
  State ward and non-ward records
  Locating records
  Destruction of records
  Quality of record keeping
  Information and comments contained in records
  Support for those viewing records
Issues with access
  Government records
    Freedom of Information
    Assistance with records searches
  Non-government records
  Family information
  Delays and cost of accessing records
  Overcoming problems of access
Chapter 10 - Provision of services (PDF format) (HTML format)
Services currently provided
  State Governments
  Non-government agencies
  Support groups
Support and advocacy services
  Care Leavers of Australia Network (CLAN)
  Other support groups
Inadequate level of services
  Specialist counselling services
  Accessibility of counselling services
  Peer support groups
Health and aged care
  Mental health
  Aged care
Housing and homelessness
Adult literacy and numeracy and other education services
  Data collection
Conclusion - improving service provision
Chapter 11 - Recognition of care leavers (PDF format) (HTML format)
  Other forms of recognition
Oral histories
Research into institutional care and its consequences
Additional remarks by Senator Steve Hutchins (PDF format) (HTML format)
Appendix 1 (PDF format) (HTML format)
List of public submissions, tabled documents and other additional information
authorised for publication by the committee
Appendix 2 (PDF format) (HTML format)
Witnesses who appeared before the committee at public hearings
Appendix 3 (PDF format) (HTML format)
Appendix 4 (PDF format) (HTML format)
Legislative provisions governing children in institutions
Appendix 5 (PDF format) (HTML format)
Statistics on children in institutional care
Appendix 6 (PDF format) (HTML format)
List of homes and other institutions referred to by care leavers in submissions
Appendix 7 (PDF format) (HTML format)
Date in care and forms of abuse described by care leavers in submissions