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The Forgotten Australians: Report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-Home care as children, Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, August 2004, described 5 types of abuse being, Physical 35%, Emotional 33%, Sexual 21%, Child Labour 8%, and Neglect 3%. Therefore, I want to know why we had a Royal Commission into one area of abuse being Sexual abuse? This Royal Commission and their terms of reference did not reflect the true burden of the reality of institutional abuse and out-of-home care in Australia for thousands of other abuse victims of a greater percentage of abuse.

This Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse incorporated institutions other than institutional care and out-of-home care. Therefore our Forgotten Australian Report was diluted severely and more importantly, to not give access to the necessary justice and witness to the majority, needed for healing. 

There were institutions or orphanages all over Australia that have been found through many inquiries to have harboured criminals and workers who abused children either as carers or pass through workers. This sort of institutional abuse is more traumatic because it can be witnessed by groups of children who then are traumatised on mass with no access to any form of Councelling. These were children who are disconnected behind walls and forgotten.  This becomes a consciousness of abuse and creates a consciousness of fear and anxiety that leads to complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These environments break a childs spirit. 

In our 2004 report Sexual abuse was the third largest abuse. Physical and Emotional abuse were the first and second and  were the most rampant abuse witnessed on mass for thousand of our Forgotten Australians hidden behind walls who suffered these dreadful traumas.  Grassroots Forgotten Australians had no say in the terms of reference or topic and the real need for a Royal Commission into all abuses was the real issue that needed attention. 

Why has this Liberal government resorted to encouraging a culture of bipartisan cruelty with other parties as well as independents in the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse 2017 and Related Bill that only addresses one area of abuse? From these Bills,  we had forced upon us, came a National Redress Scheme that is narrow and unfair for compensation. These Bills divide the thousands of abuse victims from institutional care and out-of-home care in Australia who all suffered unfortunate childhoods. Instead these Bills should reflect the truth that all abuse needs to be given compensation, promoting unity not more disconnection.

We all need justice and healing for all abuses because Australians need to understand the true magnitude of such great potentials lost to this killer of a child’s capacity and potential which is called trauma. Adult survivors find it hard or near impossible to connect to the spirit of their communities and their nation.

An environment that is abusive for children destroys their spirit and we need the element of spirit to connect and belong to our communities and nation. Compensation, even as a symbol of recognition that dreadful abuses happened, helps people who have been dreadfully damaged in their childhood development stages to feel witnessed. Forgotten Australians live very marginalised lives, many in poverty. I sometimes wonder how many Forgotten Australians are in our numbers of homeless. 

There has been so much recent knowledge gathered for all government in Australia to understand that all abuse is detrimental to development in children and therefore has a deep and lasting impact to the adults who have been carrying this burden for their lifetimes, sometimes well into old age. Our people, Forgotten Australians, want a National Redress Scheme for all abuses suffered as children in Institutional care and out-of-home care as children, not just for sexual abuse as a community nation wide crisis.

We want a Royal Commission that gives the majority of Forgotten Australians their human rights and social justice to be compensated for all abuses as recognised in our Forgotten Australian, August 2004 Report and also in the United Nations human rights agreements. Also it is imperative to compensate our group with a larger amount of money than the insulting Catholic Church’s MELBOURNE Response which was disputed by the Royal Commission as not adequate yet adopted by the Federal Australian government in these two Bills.

We need a maximum amount of $200,000 plus to be able to have some sort of economic equality lost to us due to trauma based environmental situations of abuse while in care. This will then become something more ethical to justice and healing for our people and our nation. 

Yours Sincerely

Mary Dolores Brownlee