Forgotten Australians

The term 'Forgotten Australians' was first used in the 2004 Senate Report, Forgotten Australians - A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children. It refers to the more than 500,000 children who were placed in institutional or other out of home care in Australia during the last century. Since the release of the report many people who experienced institutional or out of home care as children have identified with the term Forgotten Australian. They have chosen to engage with politicians, professionals, family, friends and the public as 'Forgotten Australians' due to the years of silence, and disbelief that they have encountered in seeking justice for the harm and the crimes committed against them as children.


“Many of those children were abused physically, sexually and emotionally. Many were denied access to proper health care, to education and to affection. They lived a life of hard work and deprivation. The trauma is always with them; such deep-seated experiences in childhood have a profound effect on the security, resilience and self-belief of adults.” (Alliance for Forgotten Australians website)

The Report recommended that an apology be made to the Forgotten Australians who had suffered harm while in care.

In 2009, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered an Apology to the more than 500,000 people who as children were placed in care in an orphanage, home, or other form of out-of-home care during the last century, acknowledging the neglect and abuse many experienced during their time in ‘care’.

In determining eligibility for services, the Australian Government considers Forgotten Australians to be people who were in care for a period of six months or more, from the 1920’s until the end of 1989. The Queensland Government considers those who turned 18 and had left care by the end of 1999 to also be eligible for services for Forgotten Australians.

The Senate Report also made strong recommendation that, in addition to a formal apology, other positive measures needed to be undertaken by Governments to acknowledge the harm suffered by Forgotten Australians as children in institutional care – so that the apologies were "not regarded as merely 'empty gestures'". Examples given of such positive measures included reparation and redress schemes.

For more information please contact Lotus Place.

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