Aboriginal Stolen Generation Relevance to Social Work

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The 1997 Bringing Them Home Report documented the systemic removal of thousands of Indigenous Australian children from their families. (Atkinson) The removal of Indigenous children was widespread throughout Australia over a 40-year period from the 1930s. (Young, Zubrizycki) The Bringing Them Home Report which was produced by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission revealed widespread and systemic suffering of the Australian Indigenous community placed in institutional care. (Atkinson, NSW Department of Community Services) The report revealed horrific damage inflicted on the most vulnerable people in our society, Indigenous children. Removal was through official government policy of assimilation of Indigenous people. (Atkinson, Briskman, Atkinson, J.) It is often argued that the legislation was meant for the benefit of the children removed. (Atkinson) Child welfare legislation created a legislative regime where children who were deemed neglected, could be removed from their birth parents and placed in institutional or out-of-home care, by first being declared a child of the state. (Atkinson) The definition of ‘neglected’ was inconsistent across states. In practice is appears that ‘neglecting’ a child could be deemed based on the fact that the child was of Indigenous heritage. (Stolen Generations’ Testimonials foundation) The state-based forms of care included: Government and Church run institution, foster care and juvenile detention centres. (Atkinson) While some children reported having positive out of home care experiences the majority of the Stolen generation reported a great deal of suffering, emotional, physical, sexual abuse and most horrifically the denial of their true identity and culture. (Atkinson, Briskman, NSW department of community services) Many Indigenous people are still suffering from social and emotional loss from having
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