Monday, December 3, 2012

'They need to make this right': Distress at broken vow over apology

Susan Treweek has had a harder life than most.  Which is why a 2010 apology made to her and other survivors who, as children, had been placed by the state of Queensland into adult mental institutions meant so much.

The apology was an acknowledgement that the 1999 Forde Inquiry into the abuse and neglect of children in state and religious institutions, and subsequent apology, did not cover all the survivors' experiences.

Read more:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bravehearts and the National Child Protection Alliance are seeking a Royal Commission

Bravehearts and the National Child Protection Alliance are seeking a Royal Commission into the handling of child sexual abuse cases by the different systems that are responsible for the care and protection of children. In the last two weeks we learned that a South Australian Education Department administrator banned a school council from informing parents that their children had been cared for by a (now convicted) paedophile who had raped a young child. The parents were informed by letter two years later and, of course, some parents are now finding that their children were also abused. Seemingly, no counselling was offered for children, parents or staff. The issue has become political because the Premier was then Education Minister and his assistant failed to tell him that the man had been arrested. Worse, school council members were threatened that if they disclosed what had happened they could be taken to court.
This was not the first time that parents were kept in the dark. A few weeks earlier, police banned child care centre management from informing parents that another sex offender had been arrested.
Now we have senior police in Victoria and New South Wales having the courage to expose the fact that the Catholic Church not only impeded inquiries into child sex offences but competent police officers were removed from the investigations. Sadly, international research shows that abuse by clergy is even more damaging than incest because it involves God and spiritual abuse. Victims are often told that they were chosen by God to suffer the pain of abuse and, at the same time, they were made to take the blame by being required to confess the sin to the very priest who had committed it.
In addition, the Family Court continues to punish children who disclose sexual abuse by a parent or parent figure. Mothers (and occasionally fathers) have been (and are still being) accused of training the children to make these disclosures and they, not the accused, are required to undergo psychiatric assessment. The accused are given responsibility for the residence and care of the children and the protective parents may be banned from contact or ordered to have occasional supervised contact and the supervisors write reports on their parenting skills.. but no-one observes and reports on the accused person's  parenting skills when children are in their care. Furthermore after ordering children to live with the parents accused of abusing them, there is no follow-up relating to their well-being. The current Chief Justice and her predecessor confirm that the Family Court lacks the facility to investigate child sex abuse cases and state child protection services are often under the impression that they cannot intervene if a federal court order is in place or a case is in the Family Court.
The reality is that no organisation is protecting young and disabled children from sexual abuse if they lack the sophisticated communication skills needed to withstand rigorous cross examination by barristers in a criminal court.

Would readers who support a Royal Commission please email Hetty Johnson  -

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Ambassadors will raise public awareness - Tuart Times WA

Jenny Aldrick and Ron Love recently returned
from a five day ‘Forgotten Australian Ambassador
Project’ Training Course, held at Hindmarsh in Adelaide
in October.

Jenn and Ron joined ten other ‘Forgotten
Australians’ from around the country for training in
presenting information sessions to relevant service
providers and other community sectors to raise awareness
of the issues affecting people who experienced out-of home
care during childhood.

Read more

Monday, November 5, 2012

Protection orders for children double in decade: welfare report

THE number of children on care and protection orders has doubled over the past 10 years, according to a report into health and welfare of Australian young people.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that 28,200 children aged 0-12 were on care and protection orders in 2011, almost twice as many as in 2000.
Cases of abuse and neglect have risen from 4.8 children per 1000 in 1999-2000 to 6.9 per 1000 in 2011, representing 25,400 children aged 0-12. But they have dropped from the peak of 8.1 per 1000 in 2004-05.
There are 32,000 children in out-of-home care, a figure that has doubled since 2000.

Read more:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apology to those affected by forced adoption today

Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu in joint sitting of parliament will formally apologise on to those affected by forced adoption on Thursday 25th October from 11.30am at Parliament House - due to limited seating at Parliament guests will be very welcome at a concurrent viewing of the Apology opposite at The Windsor.
People will be able to view a live internet broadcast of the apology

Friday, October 19, 2012

You are invited to attend Canberra's Reclaim The Night 2012 event, taking place on October 26 from 6:30 - 8:30pm in Garema Place. Reclaim the Night is an annual event that is held around the world and which began about 40 years ago, at the time of the "Yorkshire Ripper" murders in England, where women were told by police to stay indoors at night.  It is in its 34th year in Canberra.

Reclaim the Night has traditionally been about fighting for women's right to feel safe in public spaces, without having to live with the fear and reality of physical and sexual violence. The event provides a public platform for women - and the men who support them - to raise awareness of sexual violence and the right to feel safe in public places. 

In Australia, one in five women is likely to suffer from physical or sexual violence during their lifetime (ABS 2010). Reclaim the Night is an opportunity to make a statement against the institutional and societal values that give rise to this, to raise awareness of the issue in our own community, and to give voice to those one in five who have suffered in silence. In this year's Reclaim the Night we hope that participants will reflect on the history of Reclaim The Night, the progress made along the way, and their hopes for the future.

Reclaim the Night is the opening event of the ACT Women's Services Network's Summer of Respect campaign. The Summer of Respect runs through until International Women's day on the 8th of March.

For more information, please contact Ashley Harrison on or 02 6290 2166 and follow us on

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Invitation to St Vincent’s Home Reunion

Invitation to
St Vincent’s Home Reunion

Sunday 11th November 2012
125 Queens Rd, Nudgee

For a small cost come and enjoy our Sausage Sizzle

Ice Creams & Drinks
Free tea & Coffee
BBQ facilities available

Enquiries to:
Mercy Family Services 07 3267 9000
Colleen 0408 704 054
Scott 0418 729 615

Thank you to all our sponsors for your kind donations.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Forgotten Aussie tells of state care abuse

Caroline Carroll remembers being given meals furred with mould during a childhood spent in state care after she was given up as a baby.
The memory haunts the woman who grew up in institutions and foster homes in NSW in the 1950s and 60s, leaving her with a horror of some foods.
Ms Carroll was one of half a million children put in orphanages and state care across Australia last century.
She spent a hellish childhood in six institutions and five foster homes.
"I had one meal given to me for about a week till it had fur on it. Nothing else was given to you. The same meal put in front of you every day," she told AAP on Friday.
"I had real issues with food. I still do."


Recitations of 'sorry' are no help to this survivor

Fifteen-year-old Jason spent his days at Osler House at Wolston Park lying on a mattress, suffering from a muscle wasting disease which had left him little movement and unable to talk.
“One day, a nurse went past and Jason wanted to go to the toilet,” Sue Treweek, who would spend eight years in the same ward after being placed there as a 15-year-old in 1980, said.
“I was only about eight feet away from him and he brushed the nurse’s pants with his hand and the nurse has turned around with his steel capped boots and kicked Jason’s teeth out of his head, literally. He smashed this little boy’s teeth. They didn’t get a doctor to him for a few days and the next thing I remember is these people in suits and his mother, they all came and they took him out of there. But they would have told him that a patient beat him, they wouldn’t have said a nurse beat him.”

Read more:

Sandra's story one of pain, despair and hope

At 15 years old, Sandra Robinson had escaped from every institution and home the state government had placed her.
She was rewarded with a place inside Ward Eight of Wolston Park Hospital, which in 1967 was where Queensland placed adults judged to be criminally insane.
Falsely accused of swallowing a needle, Ms Robinson was transferred to Wolston Park after spending weeks in solitary confinement at another institution.
During the 12 months she spent there before escaping, Ms Robinson said she experienced and was witnessed to unspeakable horror.

Read more:

Come clean on chambers of horrors, sufferers plead

As the Queensland government embarks on its third inquiry into the protection of children under state care, abuse victims wonder when their hell will be acknowledged, writes Amy Remeikis.

Adults who were admitted into Queensland adult psychiatric asylums while they were children between the 1950s and the 1980s have called for a separate inquiry into the abuse, torture and neglect they suffered inside the institutional walls.

Read more:

Women crucified for the sins of the fathers: Censorship and the crucifixion motif in the art of Rachael Romero

Wednesday 12 September 2012 4:15-5:30pm

School of History Seminar Series

Adele Chynoweth, Visitor, School of History, ANU

McDonald Room Menzies Library, ANU

In this seminar, which is comprised of two parts, Dr Adele Chynoweth will present her paper Art has always saved me: The crucifixion motif in the work of Rachael Romero accepted for the Religion, Nature and Art conference at the Missionary Ethnological Museum of the Vatican Museums in October 2011. However, the presentation was censored by the Director of the Vatican Museums 24 hours before its scheduled presentation. Dr Chynoweth will, through an application of feminism and cultural hybridity, analyse the Vatican’s censorship of her presentation.

In the second part, Dr Chynoweth will present her scheduled Vatican conference paper in full. Dr Chynoweth will note the problem in privileging the postcolonial gaze, evident in consensus history’s understanding of institutionalised children in twentieth century Australia.

Rachael Romero is one of over 400,000 non-Indigenous Australian, known as the ‘Forgotten Australians’, who, as children, were institutionalised in Australia. At the age of 20, as an art activist, Romero co-founded the San Francisco Poster Brigade (1975-1983). Her work from this period was recently exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Through a feminist analysis, Dr Chynoweth will present Romero’s recent series of drawings comprising The Magdalene Diaries which serve as a historical record of the systematised factory-like conditions of the Magdalene laundries, in which ‘fallen’ teenage girls were forced to labour under the direction of the Order of the Good Shepherd within the Catholic Church.
School of History Seminar Series

Dr Adele Chynoweth was a curator for the exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions at the National Museum of Australia and is currently a visitor at ANU’s School of History.
Magdalene Laundry, © Rachael Romero (2011)
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
ALL WELCOME Please direct enquiries to

Friday, April 20, 2012

‘Let our histories be visible’

Human rights museology and the National Museum of Australia’s Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions.

An article written by Adele Chynoweth regarding the Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions, exhibition held at the National Museum of Australia.  Read the full article here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Find & Connect – a national web resource for the Forgotten Australians

Invitation to a discussion session. 
Find & Connect – a national web resource for the Forgotten Australians
Thursday 15 March 2012, 9.00 – 11.30am
Location: Darwin venue: Holiday Inn Esplanade, 116 The Esplanade, Darwin, in the Kakadu Room.

The Find & Connect web resource can be viewed at Find & Connect comprises eight state/territory websites and an overarching national website. Please note: this web resource is in its first phase; more information will be added over the next three years.
Please email to rsvp, or call on 03 9035 4760 to discuss.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Canada commission details abuse of native children

Canada commission details abuse of native children

Two mixed-race children stand either side of an InuitNative children were taken from their families and sent to boarding schools

Related Stories

A commission examining Canada's policy to separate indigenous children from their families says the abuse created a legacy of turmoil.
From the country's formation in the 19th Century until the 1970s, the children had to attend schools where they were stripped of their identity.
Many of the 150,000 children also suffered physical abuse from the staff at the church-run boarding schools.
An interim report says children left the schools "as lost souls".
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, They Came for the Children, says their lives were "soon to be cut short by drugs, alcohol and violence".
It concludes that the schools were an assault on indigenous children, their families, culture and their nations.
Native Canadians remain among the poorest members of society, with many still living on reserves.
The commission was formed as part of a landmark settlement in 2006 that included more than C$2bn (£1.3bn) compensation for surviving former children and their families.
It has already taken 25,000 statements from survivors, visited about 500 communities and has heard from about 100 former school employees.

Start Quote

There is an opportunity now for Canadians to engage in this work, to make their own contributions to reconciliation, and to create new truths about our country”
Truth and Reconciliation Commission interim report
The schools were set up to assimilate native children into Canadian society.
The report starts with a quote from Hector Langevin, the Public Works Minister of Canada in 1883: "In order to educate the children properly, we must separate them from their families. Some people may say that this is hard, but if we want to civilise them we must do that.''
The federal government acknowledged 10 years ago that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was widespread.
Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs.
"It is commonly said that it takes a village to raise a child," said commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair during a press conference to present the report on Friday.
"The government of Canada took little children away from their villages and placed them into institutions that were the furthest things from a village you could expect," he said
The report said the result was damaged relations within aboriginal families and with Canadian society at large.
It calls for a comprehensive programme of education to help the process of reconciliation.
The report concludes: "There is an opportunity now for Canadians to engage in this work, to make their own contributions to reconciliation, and to create new truths about our country."
A final report is due to be published in 2014.

Monday, February 6, 2012

PUBLIC FORUM: Exploring sexual violence and institutionalisation in the ACT

The Women’s Centre for Health Matters Inc. is a community based organisation that uses social research, advocacy, community development and health promotion to empower women to enhance their health and wellbeing.

PUBLIC FORUM: Exploring sexual violence and institutionalisation in the ACT

Monday 20th of February
2pm – 4pm
National Library of Australia, Conference room (4th Floor)

From the moment of colonisation there has been institutionalisation in Australia, when thousands of women, men and children arrived as convicts. Since this time women have experienced institutionalisation in diverse settings including prisons, juvenile detention centres, aged care, psychiatric units, detoxification or rehabilitation centres, children’s homes and refugee detention centres. Women have experienced these institutions differently to men because of gendered life circumstances.
Sexual violence affects almost 1 in 5 Australian women, and women who have been institutionalised are more likely to have experienced sexual violence either prior to institutionalisation or while institutionalised.
Join us to hear from a variety of speakers who will explore the relationship between sexual violence and institutionalisation. Women speakers will draw on both personal experiences and broader perspectives to approach the topic from the view of women living with mental health issues, women in prison, women with disability and women Forgotten Australians. We will also hear from local Greens leader Meredith Hunter MLA and a curator of the NLA Forgotten Australians Oral History Project.

This public forum is part of Summer of Respect, the ACT Women’s Services Network’s summer-long anti-sexual violence campaign. It hopes to raise awareness about how the issues of sexual violence and institutionalisation affect women in our community, and how we can support women who have experienced this trauma and stop sexual violence from happening in the future.

Please RSVP to for catering purposes or for more information contact Laura Pound from the Women’s Centre for Health Matters on 6290 2166 or

This event is supported by:
ACT Women and Mental Health Working Group

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reinstatement of some Medicare supported counselling.

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform
Minister for Social Inclusion
1 February 2012


In the 2011-12 Budget, the Gillard Government brought in changes to the Better Access program to deliver a mental health package that better targeted and supported some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.

The changes to Better Access allow us to rebalance our investments across new and innovative services that target and address mental illness throughout a person’s lifespan.

While Better Access was neither designed nor intended to provide intensive services or ongoing therapy for people with severe and persistent mental illness, the Government acknowledges there are some people with more complex needs who have come to rely on the program for support.

We recognise that reducing the number of rebatable sessions has caused some community concern and that the new services in our mental health package need to build further capacity before they are fully able to provide care and support to those with more complex needs.

We will therefore reinstate the additional 6 services under ‘exceptional circumstances’ for a transitional period to 31 December 2012. The transitional period will provide sufficient time for our new mental health services to build capacity and effectively respond to people with more complex needs.

The standard number of rebatable sessions under Better Access will remain at 10, consistent with the program’s focus on people with mental disorders where short term interventions are most likely to be useful. However, this change means that eligible individuals can receive up to 16 services in the transitional period where ‘exceptional circumstances’ apply.

In addition, individuals will continue to be able to receive Medicare rebates for ten group therapy services per calendar year on top of their individual sessions. People with more severe and ongoing mental disorders can also be referred to Medicare subsidised consultant psychiatrist services (where 50 sessions can be provided per year), or to other specialised mental health services.

Individuals will be eligible for an additional 6 allied mental health services under ‘exceptional circumstances’ from 1 March 2012 until 31 December 2012.

Invitation to a discussion session about Find & Connect – a national web resource for the Forgotten Australians

Monday 23 January 2012

Invitation to a discussion session. 
Find & Connect – a national web resource for the Forgotten Australians
Tuesday 14 February 2012, 1:00pm – 3.30pm
National Museum of Australia
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing on behalf of the National Find & Connect web resource project team working out of the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University. This project has been funded by the Commonwealth Government to create a national Find & Connect web resource through which Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants will be able to search for information about children’s Homes, guides to records of Homes, information about government policies and relevant legislation and other information related to their time in care.  
The Find & Connect web resource can be viewed at Find & Connect comprises eight state/territory websites and an overarching national website. Please note: this web resource is in its first phase; more information will be added over the next three years.
You’ve been identified as a key person whose knowledge and experience would be of value to the development of the Find & Connect web resource.
Members of the Find & Connect project team including Rachel Tropea, Sarah Green and I, will be coming to Canberra on Tuesday 14 February and would like to meet with you – the attached agenda will give you a sense of the matters to be discussed on the day. The meeting will be held at the National Museum of Australia, the exact room location will be posted at the front desk of the Museum.
This is a keystone project that will have a significant impact on building our national identity, and we really welcome your interest and involvement.  Please email me at to rsvp, or call on 03 9035 4760 to discuss. 
Yours sincerely,
Sally Orpin
Communications and Liaison Officer
Find & Connect Project
tel: 03 9035 4760

Initial Stakeholder Meeting
Tuesday 14 February 2012
Time: 1.00pm – 3.30pm
Venue: National Museum of Australia


1. Introductions

2. Purpose of the meeting

3. Introducing the Find & Connect ACT web resource
  • Content of ‘Version 1’
  • Strategies for linking Find & Connect web resource to support services – client liaison, feedback, referrals
  • Underlying principles for working together - the Knowledge Diamond

4. Getting involved with Find & Connect ACT and further development of the web resource (2012-2014)

5. Discussion of key issues, priorities for ACT stakeholders

6. Wrap-up and next steps

Afternoon tea provided

rsvp to Sally Orpin  (preferred) or 03 9035 4760

Getting to the National Museum of Australia.

The National Museum of Australia is located on Acton Peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, just a short drive south-west of the city centre. Access is via Lawson Crescent, Acton.

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent
Acton Peninsula
Canberra ACT 2601
Freecall 1800 026 132
Tel +61 2 6208 5000
Fax +61 2 6208 5148


  • All on-site parking is free and has a 4-hour limit.
  • Disabled parking facilities are available close to the National Museum's main entrance.
  • A bus and coach parking area is close to the main entrance.
  • Parking areas for caravans, motorhomes, campervans and trailers are also available.



Local bus services

  • Action bus number 3 operates to the National Museum on weekdays and number 934 on the weekends. For route and timetable information and fares visit the ACTION website.
  • The Explorer Bus offers a tour bus service to tourist attractions in the national capital. For route and timetable information and fares visit the Canberra Day Tours website.



  • Enjoy a walk to the National Museum from the city on the bicycle/walking paths along the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin.
  • A map of walking paths can be found on the ACT Planning and Land Authority website.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012