Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister Mary Wooldridge have today announced that the Victorian Government will formally apologise to the women, children and families affected by past adoption practices, particularly during the period from the 1950s to 1970s,
The apology will be made in State Parliament on Thursday 25th October.
Mr Baillieu said it was important to acknowledge the pain and suffering felt by mothers whose children were forcibly removed at birth, and the contribution past government policies had played in condoning those practices.
"We now understand and acknowledge the deep grief that many mothers experienced after the loss of a child to adoption, and the lack of support offered to help manage their grief, " Mr Baillieu said.
"What was done was wrong, and it is our sincere hope that this apology will be an important part of the healing process for the relinquishing mothers and their children who may continue to experience feelings of grief, pain, anger and loss, " Mr Baillieu said..
Forced adoption is defined as the situation where mothers were compelled, coerced, or given no choice other than to relinquish their babies for adoption.
A Commonwealth Senate Committee Inquiry tabled in February 2012 found that forced adoptions were widespread in Australia during the 1950s to 1970s, and that the emotional damage caused remains significant to this day. It is estimated that as many as 250,000 babies were relinquished for adoption during this time; the vast majority from young, unmarried mothers.
The Committee recommended that all states and territories and non-government agencies that administered adoptions should issue formal statements of apology.
The Victorian Government will respond to the other relevant Committee recommendations in association with the formal apology.
Ms Wooldridge said that planning for the apology had commenced and included a live broadcast into Queen's Hall at the Victorian Parliament for invited guests.
"We want to make sure that this apology is an occasion of appropriate significance and bipartisanship," Ms Wooldridge said.