Survivors knew 25 years ago: safe, just, and accessable reparations is only way to heal

The Healing Foundation

The failure to implement the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report and to adopt responses that sought to bring an end to trauma experiences for First Nations peoples of this continent, have led to the ‘gaps’ today.

The Healing Foundation Board Chair Professor Larkin said the report forewarned governments about the compounding nature of trauma experiences and their likely impact on descendants.

“Not heeding these testimonies and the Inquiry’s important advice and recommendations has resulted in the perpetuating of harm and trauma evidenced across all government systems Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are forced to interact with,” he said.

“Choosing to leave hurt and harm unaddressed, is choosing to allow these impacts and the burden of trauma experiences to remain and to continue.

“Many Stolen Generations survivors are also elderly and passing away with no known peace or hope that their children or grandchildren will know a life less impacted by trauma.”

The impact of forcibly removing children from their mothers, fathers and communities has had devastating impacts not only on those stolen children but on their descendants. The evidence is clear and undeniable. It was brought to the world at the National Press Club on 2 June last year.

A nationally consistent and holistic response to reparations remains an urgent high priority for The Healing Foundation and Stolen Generations survivors.

Compensation in the form of reparations is not just about practical support for long overdue justice, but it is about recognising the truth of what happened and creating the environments across systems, sectors and workforces that prioritise intergenerational healing.

This Sorry Day, The Healing Foundation acknowledges the commitment from all governments to close the gaps, and to acknowledge the central cause of the gaps.

We again call for urgent action by all governments to embed trauma aware, healing informed reparations so that intergenerational healing can happen now.

This includes access to all services and urgent complete care to resolve the reason why Stolen Generations and their descendants need more care.

We also reinforce the critical importance of survivor-led voices being central within all aspects of reparations design.

This is still not an Australia that has systematically, addressed the specific needs of Survivors that are now proven to be a result of removal and subsequent abuse, and this alone. A coordinated, national, holistic trauma aware, healing informed strategy is critical for making healing happen.

“The Bringing Them Home report was supposed to build a better nation,” Professor Larkin said.

Token gestures do not heal. Incremental change is not the best we can hope for. Equity, fairness, and inclusiveness requires big, bold steps to finally create a society that contributes every day to intergenerational healing.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart provides a way to build a shared future where true healing happens and trauma cycles end. The National Agreement on Closing the Gap commits all governments to create the environments across systems, sectors and workforces that prioritise intergenerational healing.

The Healing Foundation’s Youth Reference Group have made a statement in acknowledgement of Sorry Day and the 25th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report. Contact The Healing Foundation for a copy.

Read about taking our next most powerful steps together: https://healingfoundation.org.au/make-healing-happen/

Watch The Healing Foundation’s spokespeople reflection reel here: https://youtu.be/WsIprQydUdU

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address trauma caused by the widespread and deliberate disruption of populations, cultures, and languages over 230 years. This includes specific actions like the forced removal of children from their families.

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