NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #BTH20 Report released : Bringing Them Home 20 Years on : An action plan for healing

“ While this report might primarily detail the response from government to the Bringing Them Home report, it is not a report to government about government.

 This is a report for everyone, and outlines as a whole how we can actively support healing for Stolen Generations and their descendants.

There needs to be commitment to making change. We all have a responsibility to do this together.

 The price of not acting on the recommendations means an increased burden for Australia as a whole. It’s time for action. We need to address the unfinished business—for the sake of our Elders, our young ones, for our entire communities and all Australians.”

Bringing Them Home 20 Years on : An action plan for healing

Download the 2017 Report Here :

Bringing Them Home 20 years on – 23 May 2017

 ” Tony Abbott’s signature Indigenous Advancement Strategy worsened the Stolen Generations’ trauma by funnelling mental health and social services funding to non-indigenous NGOs, in some cases to the very churches that ran the insti­tutions to which the children were forcibly removed.

On the 20th anniversary of the landmark Bringing Them Home report, a review to be handed to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten today says most of its recommendations have not been implemented “

From Todays Australian  See below Part 3 for full Text

Photos below : The PM and Opposition leader meeting with members of the Stolen Generation this morning

“Not only have we denied Aboriginal People the right to their families but their right to culture; stories; traditions & language.”

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull Prime Minister

Part 1 : 20 YEARS ON:  IT’S TIME TO HEAL THE TRAUMA

Australia’s aging Stolen Generations are still struggling with the impacts of unresolved trauma, and need a new policy approach to assist them and their families to heal.

That’s a key finding of a major new report launched today by the Healing Foundation.  The launch marks 20 years since the landmark Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament.

Called Bringing Them Home 20 Years On, the new report sets out an action plan to overhaul Australia’s Indigenous policy landscape.

Healing Foundation Board Chair Steve Larkin said the failure to implement the recommendations of the original Bringing Them Home report has made matters worse for all Indigenous Australians.

“Our Stolen Generations haven’t been able to heal because Australia has failed to address their needs in a co-ordinated, holistic way.  As a result, their grief, loss and anger is being passed onto their kids and grandkids,” said Professor Larkin.

The Healing Foundation found the most pressing needs highlighted by the report are for:

  • Federally coordinated financial reparations similar to the Commonwealth Redress Scheme provided to survivors of child sexual abuse
  • a full analysis of the Stolen Generations changing needs as they age
  • a national study on intergenerational trauma, its impacts, and the best ways to address
  • ensuring all professionals who work with the Stolen Generations and their descendants – from police to mental health workers – are trained in recognising and addressing Indigenous trauma

Chair of the Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Committee Florence Onus is one of four generations of women who have been forcibly removed from their families.

“I embarked on my healing journey when at 21, my mother attempted suicide.  With family support I became her full time carer and together we began the journey of healing,” said Ms Onus.

Florence is passionate about breaking the cycle of trauma through healing, education, cultural identity and spiritual nurturing.

At the event in Federal Parliament House Ms Onus and Professor Larkin will present Australia’s political leaders with a copy of the report

Part 2 : Report Executive summary

On 26 May 1997 the landmark Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament. The report was the result of a national inquiry that investigated the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families.

This marked a pivotal moment in the healing journey of many Stolen Generations members. It was the first time their stories—stories of being taken from their families—were acknowledged in such a way.

It was also the first time it was formally reported that what governments did to these children was inhumane and the impact has been lifelong.

Did you know?

  • The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998—exactly one year after the Bringing Them Home Report was presented to the Parliament.
  • The Bringing Them Home Report resulted from an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, and recommends both an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reparations.
  • The term “Stolen Generations” refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were forcibly removed, as children, from their families by government, welfare or church authorities and placed into institutional care or with non-Indigenous foster families.
  • The forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children began as early as the mid-1800s and continued until the 1970s.
  • Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have implemented state-based Stolen Generations reparations schemes

Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been affected by the Stolen Generations.

The resulting trauma has been passed down to children and grandchildren, contributing to many of the issues faced in Indigenous communities, including family violence, substance abuse and self-harm.

Messages from NACCHO CEO Pat Turner and June Oscar

Two decades on and the majority of the Bringing Them Home recommendations have not yet been implemented. For many Stolen Generations members, this has created additional trauma and distress.

Failure to act has caused a ripple effect to current generations. We are now seeing an increase in Aboriginal people in jails, suicide is on the rise and more children are being removed.

Addressing the underlying trauma of these issues through healing is the only way to create meaningful and lasting change. Commemorative events, like the 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report, are an important part of the healing process, for Stolen Generations members, their families and the broader community. In order to change, you have to remember.

The anniversary presents an opportunity to reset—to secure sustainable support to help reduce the impact of trauma.

This report, which was informed by the Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Committee and other Stolen organisations, outlines an action plan for long term and holistic change.

As the first stage of taking action, the Healing Foundation has identified four key priorities which can be quickly addressed to build an evidence-based and equitable framework for healing.

Priority one

A comprehensive needs analysis so that we can tailor and deliver more effective service for Stolen Generations members that also represent the best possible return on investment. Right now, we don’t know how many Stolen Generations members are still alive, let alone the demographic data that would enable us to optimise service design and delivery.

We don’t know that needs have changed over the past two decades, as Stolen Generations members reach their elderly years and require specific aged care services.

Priority Two

A national scheme for reparations to ensure equal access to financial redress and culturally appropriate healing services, where state and federal governments – and the institutions that caused the harm – share the cost of the burden. Some States have recently announced reparation schemes for Stolen Generations members, which suggests a promising level of commitment to an overarching federal scheme.

Some states have recently announced reparation schemes for stolen Generations members, which suggests a promising level of commitment to an overarching federal scheme.

Priority Three

Coordinated and compulsory training around stolen Generations trauma so that the organisations working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are better equipped to provide effective and appropriate services.

The aim is to ensure that everyone has the skills to identify and appropriately deal with trauma- from police to frontline social and health workers, and staff at every level within key policy and provider organisations.

Priority Four

A comprehensive study of intergenerational trauma and how we can effectively tackle it. Measures to deal with intergenerational trauma need to underpin future strategies addressing social and health problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities, including suicide, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration rates and the high numbers of children entering the protection system

Part 3 : Abbott’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy backfired for stolen generations

Tony Abbott’s signature Indigenous Advancement Strategy worsened the Stolen Generations’ trauma by funnelling mental health and social services funding to non-indigenous NGOs, in some cases to the very churches that ran the insti­tutions to which the children were forcibly removed.

From Todays Australian

On the 20th anniversary of the landmark Bringing Them Home report, a review to be handed to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten today says most of its recommendations have not been implemented.

The review also says the ageing nature of the cohort of indigenous Australians removed from their families for decades up until the 1970s, usually forcibly, means there will be specific aged-care needs that have not yet been planned for.

Attention to financial redress has been inadequate and more work must be done on the impact of the intergenerational trauma behind high rates of suicide, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration rates and increasing numbers of children being put in care, it says.

This trauma was identified as a result of the official policies of child removals, and the subsequent brutalisation in institutional settings.

The review, by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, says training around Stolen Generations’ trauma must be improved so everyone from “police to frontline social and health workers and staff at every level within key policy and provider organ­isations” can provide effective services. It notes that the number of Stolen Generations members alive is not known but suggests a minimum realistic estimate of 15,000 people, with an extra 160,000 having immediate family who were removed.

The review, co-written by Lowitja institute chairwoman Pat Anderson, notes the failure to act since the 1997 report has “caused additional trauma and distress” for Stolen Generations members and had a “ripple ­effect” on current generations.

It notes research that shows those who had been removed, or who had parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or siblings removed “are around 50 per cent more likely to have been charged by police, 30 per cent less likely to report being in good health, 15 per cent more likely to consume alcohol at risky levels and 10 per cent less likely to be employed” than other indigenous Australians.

It also notes that despite some focus on healing, very little of this has been aimed at repairing relationships between Stolen Generations and their communities, which “has fed lateral violence resulting in increasing isolation”.

The Indigenous Advancement Strategy was introduced by Mr Abbott as prime minister in an attempt to streamline the delivery of services and create better efficiencies. It has been widely panned, including by a Senate committee and the Nat­ional Audit Office, for its hasty and poorly planned implementation, for channelling large program streams through non-indigenous organisations and inadequate indigenous decision-making input. A key focus of constitutional reform talks at Uluru this week by the Referendum Council will be how to achieve “substantive” change giving indigenous Australians a decisive influence on policymaking which affects them.

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