The Healing Foundation has released a new report in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) that estimates the number of Stolen Generations survivors coming forward has more than doubled in the last three years.
The Make Healing Happen: It’s time to act report provides an in-depth insight into the experiences of Stolen Generations survivors and sets out a clear strategy with recommendations to achieve real and lasting healing for survivors, their families, and communities.
The report, collated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that the number of Stolen Generations survivors has increased from 17,150 in 2014-15 to 33,600 in 2018-19.
There are more than 30,000 survivors, all of whom will be aged 50 and over in 2022. The report shows Stolen Generations survivors aged over 50 are more likely to carry higher disadvantage than other Indigenous Australians of the same age on a range of health and socioeconomic outcomes.
Chair of the Stolen Generations Reference Group for The Healing Foundation, Ian Hamm, was separated from his family when he was just three weeks old and at 56-years-old is considered to be on the younger end of the Stolen Children.
Mr Hamm said he was happy to see more Stolen Generations people confident in identifying, and coming forward to tell their story, “To say I have a story, I belong, you need to hear what happened to me.”
The Yorta Yorta man said what he was most shocked by in the report’s findings, was the sheer size of the population of Stolen Generations descendants who were impacted by the removal of a parent, grandparent, or great grandparents, which is estimated to be over 142,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still suffering the effects of intergenerational trauma today.
He said Stolen Generations descendants were too often overlooked when talking about the Stolen Generations.
“What do we do to respond to the needs of the descendants of the Stolen Children? That’s actually critically important – it’s over 142,000 people who have some element of trauma in their lives as the result of an ancestor being taken.”
“We need to do something to resolve their issues or work with them and give them the opportunity to have the life they should be having, a better life.”
The Make Healing Happen report, lays out four key action points to assist in the healing process for Stolen Generations survivors, their families, and their communities, they are:
- ACTION 1. Redress for Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants
- ACTION 2. Meeting the complex needs of Stolen Generations survivors
- ACTION 3. Healing intergenerational trauma and preventing new harm
- ACTION 4. Sustainable and robust monitoring and accountability
Ian Hamm said now that the recommendations are out in the public, it is up to the government and the wider community to take them up in response to the ongoing needs of the Stolen Generation.
“The Healing Foundation will be looking to work with governments and working with Stolen Generations communities about how they work together to develop the response that they need to change the lives that people have.”