Children who found themselves in care due to family breakdown, death or illness of a parent or children of immigrants

Forgotten Australians

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse established in 2013 highlighted horrific experiences of sexual abuse against children

The experience of the tens of thousands of people who bravely gave testimony at the Commission represent an even larger portion of the Australian population who experienced unforgivable abuse.

One such group within the “Care Leavers”, is the 500,000 Forgotten Australians who had traumatic experiences in state care, out-of-home care or institutional care as children before 1989. These are children who found themselves in care due to family breakdown, death or illness of a parent or children of immigrants, who did not have the skills or language to navigate the system.

One such example was covered on the ABC online today, the story of Alby, the son of Dutch migrants who at the age of 4 years old ended up in an orphanage due to “neglect”, and suffered physical and sexual abuse throughout his time in orphanages and state care, such as forced medication.

This group of Forgotten Australians are now entering aged care facilities, and are facing the fear of abuse at the hands of a different institution, a very real fear when we see some of the stories emerging from the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

It is saddening to hear that there are elderly who “would rather commit suicide than be re-institutionalised”, according to Alby.

I am glad to hear that the federal government has given $500,000 in funding to the non-for-profit, Helping Hand, to roll out a national program to support Forgotten Australians facing the possibility of aged care titled “Care, The Second Time Around.”

This program aims to help aged care providers support and respond to older Australians who have experienced trauma within institutions previously as children. It acknowledges their very real experiences and feelings as children, and has affected their trust in institutions.

We need to be looking after ALL Australians, and at all ends of the age spectrum. I hope that the funding for this program helps transitioning into a positive experience for Forgotten Australians.

To read more about Helping Hands