State must redress care leaver trauma

Media statement

May 11, 2022

Tania Maxwell MP has asked Premier Daniel Andrews MP to establish a redress scheme for care leavers – people who experienced physical, psychological and emotional abuse as children while in Victorian orphanages.

The Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Member for Northern Victoria told Parliament yesterday it was time the Victorian government provided redress for those traumatised by abuse in state institutions.

“The government has announced a number of redress schemes for those harmed by historical actions from state policies and practices,” Ms Maxwell said.

“This includes the recent announcement of redress for mothers who had their children forcibly removed in the historical practice of adoption for children born out of wedlock, as well as reparations for Aboriginal Victorians forcibly removed from their families before 1977.

“These schemes will provide $100,000 in redress to each person who experienced harm by these practices.

“Care leavers hold no grudge against others who have been given redress, but it is hard for them not to feel envy and disappointment that their own harm is not being recognised in a similar way.

“Care Leavers Australasia Network has long campaigned for recognition and redress to extend from sexual abuse, which the Commonwealth’s national redress scheme covers, to physical and emotional abuse that so many endured in our state institutions.

“In 2004, a Senate inquiry recognised the history of cruelty inflicted on children raised as wards of the state.

“It recommended redress, and then-Premier Steve Bracks delivered an apology on behalf of Victoria in 2006, including a commitment to work with survivors of abuse and neglect in care to promote the healing process.”

“Progress has since stalled since and, in the absence of Commonwealth action, Victoria could – and should – lead the way. So I ask the government, 16 years since Premier Bracks’ apology, what are you waiting for?”

Ms Maxwell noted, subsequent to her adjournment, that children voluntarily placed into state care by a parent or guardian are not recognised as care leavers by the government.

View speech in Parliament (May 10, 2022)