Former wards of state bring abuse stories to steps of Parliament

Adults who were abused in state care as children brought their stories to the steps of Parliament on Thursday, calling on the Government to help to heal the pain and prevent further suffering.  

A petition was presented to Parliament on behalf of the survivors, calling for a public apology and an inquiry into the abuse. About 100,000 children were placed in state care between the 1950s and 1990s and many suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse.

Lawyer Sonja Cooper represents many state care abuse survivors, and she says the system is still broken. "The fact that we've got so many young clients now under the age of 20 is really telling of how poor the system is still doing," she said. 

Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy was at Parliament with the survivors and said: "They're doing it because they don't want this to ever happen again in this country, and to me that's just so selfless."

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children will have measures like a safe complaints system to protect children.

"We know where it's gone wrong, we know. You talk to the young people and they had no safe way of telling anyone what was happening to them." 

The Government has offered individual apologies and compensation to the victims, but to the abuse survivors that's not enough. They want an inquiry to give them the assurance that the suffering has ended.