Parliamentary apology to care leavers

8 February 2024

The Premier has formally apologised to Victorians who experienced historical abuse and neglect as children in institutional care.

Members of both houses of parliament gathered in the Legislative Assembly for the historic speech delivered by Jacinta Allan.

'Today we acknowledge a shameful chapter in our history and the experience of a group of Victorians who have fought for a long time to be heard,' Ms Allan said.

'To those children who were abused and neglected during their time in care, we humbly and unreservedly apologise.'

'We failed you. For this we are deeply sorry.'

Jacinta Allan, Victorian Premier

'But sorry is just a word, it requires action and even more commitment.

'Today, as a parliament we take the first step towards righting those wrongs, and commit ourselves to doing more and doing better to protect Victoria’s children; past, present and future.'

It is estimated more than 90,000 children were placed in care in Victoria prior to 1990, many of whom experienced physical, psychological, emotional and sexual abuse.

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'We join this motion today because our care leavers who are with us today and those who never made it to today deserved that protection and they didn’t get it,' Opposition Leader John Pesutto said.

'We failed those in institutionalised out-of-home care in this state and this apology is well deserved.'

The Victorian Government committed to making the apology, following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

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'It is so important that institutions right the wrongs of the past and are able to say sorry,' Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said.

'Here today in this parliament we are apologising for the failings of the care system that ultimately resulted in profound suffering for many.'

Thousands of people are expected to have watched the apology, via Parliament’s website and at several live sites across the state, including Geelong, Ballarat and Sale.

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