The Victorian Government is developing a redress scheme for mothers who were forcibly separated from their babies under historical forced adoption policies and practices, in response to recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into responses to historical forced adoption in Victoria.
A redress scheme could acknowledge the immense trauma and suffering of mothers forcibly separated from their babies under historical forced adoption policies and practices and offer recognition and healing to Aboriginal mothers impacted. These practices usually occurred in an institution, such as a hostel or hospital. Not all of these practices resulted in adoption.
Historical forced adoption practices included:
Sending mothers to maternity homes with harsh conditions
Forcibly restraining mothers when they gave birth
Immediately separating them from their newborn babies against their will, and
Pressuring or coercing mothers into signing consent forms.
Exceptional Circumstances Fund
The Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund (the Fund) has been set up in advance as a redress scheme will take some time to develop. The Fund gives eligible claimants access to a one-off payment of up to $10,000. Please watch this video to learn more about the Fund, how to apply, and where to get help.
Can I Apply?
The Fund is separate to a historical forced adoption redress scheme.
You may be eligible for the Fund if:
You are a mother whose baby/babies were forcibly adopted before 1985 in Victoria, and
You are experiencing exceptional circumstances or are terminally ill.
If you don’t meet the “exceptional circumstances” requirements for the Fund, you may still be eligible for a historical forced adoptions redress scheme. This scheme is currently being developed.
How do I Apply?
There is an online application process that VACCA can help you with. Your application will need to include:
A supporting letter from a doctor, counsellor, psychologist, lawyer or support worker. This can be your VACCA or Link-Up worker.
The supporting letter and application must demonstrate the urgency of your circumstances and how this funding will help you.
The first stage Fund is limited so we encourage you to apply as soon as you can.
Where can I get more support and information?
VACCA and Link-Up Victoria are here to support you.
For more information and guidance around accessing the payment, we encourage all Aboriginal mothers affected by forced adoptions to indicate your interest in attending a yarning circle that will be held later in the year, by contacting us via firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 OUR MOB (1800 687 662).
Further support is available:
VACCA website: www.vacca.org
Link-Up Victoria: www.linkupvictoria.org
DJCS Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund: https://www.justice.vic.gov.au/forced-adoption-exceptional-circumstances-fund
This fact sheet is for Aboriginal mothers who have been impacted by forced adoptions in Victoria before 1985. It will help you to understand and apply for the Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund.
Download a copy of the Exceptional Circumstances Fact Sheet.