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10th anniversary of national apology for forced adoptions

Forced adoptions usually affected unwed mothers.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the national apology for forced adoptions, with affected mothers and families being remembered.

The illegal removal of children, often from unwed mothers was widespread across Australia from the 1950s to the 1980s, with an estimated 140,000 to 150,000 total adoptions.

In 2013, former prime minister, Julia Gillard, made an apology acknowledging the life-long pain and suffering caused by forced adoptions, denouncing the practices as “reprehensible and inexcusable”.

Social Services Minister, Amanda Rishworth, said that for those who experienced forced adoption, the suffering has not gone away.

“The mother-baby bond was broken, as so many mothers were pressured into giving up their newborn babies or had their babies taken through immoral, unethical and above all illegal practices,” she said.

Annual funding of $1.8 million for support services still continues, providing a national helpline, casework, search services to locate family, and countrywide access to counselling.

Corresponding with the anniversary, a further $700,000 in funding has been announced by the Albanese Government to go towards continued trauma support services.

These funds will mean people affected can access “appropriate care, tailored for their needs, whatever stage of life they are at”, Rishworth said.

The Senate Committee received hundreds of submissions from individuals in 2012, giving their account of the forced adoption process, which range from distressing personal experiences, to ill-advice provided by social workers.

For those seeking assistance, call the Forced Adoption support services’ national helpline on 1800 21 03 13, or Lifeline 24/7 Crisis Support on 13 11 14.

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