Forced adoption: Righting wrongs of a dark past

Forced adoption: Righting wrongs of a dark past

Nahum Mushin

In this Seminar, Professor Mushin discussed the process leading up to the National Apology for Forced Adoption.

Black and white image of a woman looking out a window

This event was held on Wednesday 12 November 2014.

In the decades leading up to the early 1970s, there was great demand for babies who might be adopted, particularly in circumstances of infertility. The mothers were usually single and large numbers of them were under age. These young women were isolated, often interstate, institutionalised and depersonalised. Without representation by an adult acting in the capacity of a guardian, they were required to accede to decisions of others regarding their babies and without the most fundamental access to support and advice.

A national apology was offered to people affected by forced adoption on 21 March 2013. In this seminar, Professor Mushin outlines the process leading to the apology, elements of drafting of the document itself and issues that needed to be considered. The essential aspect of any public apology is the concrete measures put in place to overcome the harms and prevent the same from reoccurring. He outlines the tasks of the Working Group he chaired to guide these improvements in services to those affected, and what additional lessons can be learned from past practice.

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