|The Premier, Steve Bracks, formally apologised in Parliament today to all Victorian children who suffered abuse or neglect in institutional care.|
Mr Bracks, who delivered the apology on behalf of the State Government, said thousands of children were abused or neglected in children’s homes, orphanages and institutions.
About 90,000 Victorian Children were placed in institutional care either by the State or voluntarily by families and other between 1928 and 1992. The last State Government-run institution, Allambie in suburban Burwood, closed in 1990.
“The experiences of many of these children were distressing and have had an enduring detrimental effect on their lives,” Mr Bracks told Parliament.
“For those who were abused and neglected, the message we wish to give to them is that we acknowledge their pain and hurt.
“We apologise sincerely to all of those who as children suffered abuse and neglect whilst in care and to those who did not receive the consistent, loving care that every child needs and deserves.”
Earlier, Mr Bracks said a key recommendation of the 2004 Senate Committee report Forgotten Australians was for all States to acknowledge their role in managing institutional care arrangements and apologise for the harm caused to children.
“We have worked closely with former ward and care leaver groups to agree to an appropriate apology, and I am pleased the apology has received bi-partisan support here today.”
Mr Bracks said the State Government was paying compensation and delivering extra support and services to help victims.
“While institutional care is thing of the past, sadly its impact is not,” Mr Bracks said.
“Since 1995, the State of Victoria has settled about 60 compensations claims on a case-by-case basis totalling about $4.3 million.
“Today, I have also announced an extra $975,000 for more counselling and other support services for former wards and care-leavers, such as payments to cover travel expenses to be reunited with family and friends, and grants for family search services.”
The funding, to be shared by support groups VANISH and CLAN, will bring total funding for the two organisations to $1.4 million over three years. The State Government will also provide $30,000 to fund a permanent memorial to be built in consultation with care-leavers and former wards and investigate erecting commemorative plaques at former institutions.