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Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


This is the final report to the Inquiry into responses to historical forced adoptions in Victoria. The report contains 56 recommendations that will hopefully contribute to people’s healing and provide the necessary support to address the injustices of the past.

In 2012, the Victorian Parliament apologised for the profound harms past adoption practices caused to mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Members of Parliament from all political parties came together to acknowledge the thousands of mothers and babies separated through unethical, deceitful and immoral policies and practices, and the immeasurable pain this caused.

At the time of the apology, several measures were promised by the Victorian Government to support people affected by historical forced adoption. These complemented measures introduced by the Australian government in response to the landmark Senate inquiry into this issue. Since then, some measures have been implemented although the ongoing benefits have been limited. The need for further action prompted the referral of this inquiry to the Committee.

The Committee also heard from many people who are adopted, nearly all of whom had negative adoption experiences. Tragically, babies were taken from their mothers who were unfairly judged as unfit to raise them, yet many babies were placed with unsuitable and sometimes unsafe adoptive families. Understandably, this has adversely affected people’s health and wellbeing. The Committee recommends that a stand‑alone inquiry be undertaken to further explore the impacts on adopted people. It also recommends the immediate introduction of integrated birth certificates.

The Committee heard that while the Victorian Parliament and national apologies contributed to healing and reconciliation, they were only the beginning of that journey and should have been accompanied with long‑term and meaningful action. The 56 recommendations in this report are therefore long overdue. If implemented by the Victorian government, the recommendations will enhance the capacity of people to address the trauma of historical forced adoption. Particularly, through the provision of specialised and flexible mental health support services, and various measures to improve access to adoption records and to make it easier for people to search and reconnect with their family. The Committee also recommends measures to improve the operation and transparency of current adoption laws to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

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