connectEDspace - support for young people

Young people can face all sorts of pressures – including problems at school, with friends or at home.
connectEDspace is a website by Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), dedicated to young people to help provide all the information they need to deal with the stuff they go through each day.

Aboriginal Family and Relationship Support


RAV provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals to help strengthen family relationships.

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professionally trained person to discuss couple issues, conflicts with friends, relationship breakdown, parenting, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, grief, sexual problems, childhood sexual abuse, stress and work related tensions and disputes.

visit deadlyrav.com.au

This is a summary of recent events that are most relevant to Victorians. These significant events came about through the efforts of determined advocacy groups who fought to have Australia’s forced adoption policies and practices recognised and acknowledged.


2010

Western Australia became the first Australian government to apologise to women, their children and families affected by past forced adoption practices.


2010

The Australian Senate acknowledged the Western Australian apology and noted that policies and practices that resulted in forced adoptions were widespread in Australia from the late 1940s to the 1980s.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee commenced an inquiry into the policies and practices resulting in forced adoption from the late 1940s to the 1980s.


2012

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee Report, Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices, was released. The Committee received more than 418 submissions from individuals and organisations and held 10 public hearings. The report summarises the evidence presented to the Committee and provides 20 recommendations.

Read the Senate Committee report>


2012

On 25 October 2012, the Victorian Parliament formally apologised to ‘the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who were profoundly harmed by past adoption practices in Victoria’ and acknowledged that ‘many thousands of Victorian babies were taken from their mothers, without informed consent, and that this loss caused immense grief.’ The apology recognised that the practice of forced adoptions occurred from early last century into the early 1980s, and was particularly institutionalised between 1950 and 1975.

Read a transcript of the apology>

More information about the Victorian Apology and state-funded services in Victoria can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.


2013

National Apology for Forced Adoptions

On the 21 March 2013, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered a national apology on behalf of the Federal Government to all people affected by the policies and practices of forced adoption.

Read a transcript of the apology>

Watch the National Apology, with an introduction from the Without Consent exhibition. Note: the introduction shows people personally affected by forced adoption policies and practices talking about their experiences.

Watch the National Apology>


2013 

Changes to the Victorian Adoption Act 1984 were introduced to allow mothers and fathers, if named on the original birth certificate or in the agency adoption record, to receive identifying information about their adult adopted children without having to receive their consent. However, ‘contact statements’ were also introduced, allowing adopted persons to regulate the type of contact they had with their natural parent, ranging from no contact at all to contact through email, phone, letter or an intermediary. Breaching a contact statement was considered a criminal offence.


2015

Victorian adoption legislation change

Changes to the Adoption Act 1984 were introduced into Parliament, removing the ‘contact statements’ provisions that restricted parents from contacting their adult adopted children, if the adopted person had lodged a statement specifying ‘no contact’.

By removing contact statements and penalties for non-compliance, adult adopted persons, parents and other parties to adoption have equal rights to express their wishes regarding contact with their family. This change does not affect a person’s right to register their wishes regarding contact with their natural family on the Adoption Information Register.

Visit the Department of Health and Human Services website>


Further reading

Following the National Apology in 2013, the National Archives of Australia Forced Adoptions developed a website and a travelling exhibition (called Without Consent) to increase awareness and understanding of forced adoption policies and practices and the effects of these practices and policies on mothers, fathers and adopted persons. The website contains historic information, personal experiences, photographs and documents, lists of research studies and resources.

Visit the National Archives of Australia website>

The Attorney-General’s Department website has detailed information about the National Apology, including transcripts of parliamentary speeches and photos taken on the day of the Apology.

Visit the Attorney-General's Department website>

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