As noted above this report understands this aspect of reparations, as detailed in the Bringing Them Home Report, as the policies and practices in place to ensure that the Stolen Generations experience of separation from family, community, Culture, Country and subsequent loss of identity and sense of belonging is not repeated.
Victoria has a number of policies and practices in place in order to work within culturally responsive frameworks with regards to Aboriginal child protection, including some which were developed originally in response to the Bringing Them Home Report recommendations. However, as the jurisdiction with the second highest number of Aboriginal children in state care, this issue cannot go ignored.244 All consultations with Stolen Generations Victoria raised this as a high-level concern. The Steering Committee’s Stolen Generations Reparations survey indicates out of 94 participants, 44 see intergenerational healing as occurring through improvements to the current child protection system. It is noted that although the reasons for separating children from family today differ significantly from historical child removal practices, the outcomes we see in Stolen Generations today will occur again in subsequent generations due to the impacts of current placements of Aboriginal children in state care.
The Steering Committee recommends child protection policies and the current number of Aboriginal children entering state care today be urgently addressed.
It is recommended that intergenerational trauma be considered a priority for Victorian Government when addressing children protection policy changes. It is recommended this is included within the intergenerational response at recommendation 53, 5.3 Reparations – Measures of Rehabilitation.
It is noted that the Family Matters Report 2020 makes the following recommendation which may assist in responding to this recommendation ‘Develop a comprehensive national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s strategy that is aligned to achieve the Closing the Gap target to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031, by addressing the causes of child removal’. The report also specifies a detailed plan to achieve this which may also be used in considering changes to the Aboriginal child protection policies and practices in Victoria. 245
The Bringing Them Home Report makes some significant recommendations in relation to education around Stolen Generations experience in order to understand the history of Stolen Generations and guarantee the experience will not be repeated.246 The Steering Committee heard throughout consultation that this remains important for Stolen Generations today and although Stolen Generations is addressed within the Victorian Education Curriculum this is not sufficient.
The Steering Committee recommend that the Healing Foundation Education modules are made compulsory in primary and secondary education curriculum in Victoria.
The Healing Foundation Education modules can be located here (Link Required).
244 Family Matters, 16 November 2020, Family Matters Report 2020
245 Family Matters, 16 November 2020, Family Matters Report 2020
246 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997, Bringing Them Home Report