Advocating for women whose babies were forcibly removed for adoption

Many Victorian mothers who gave birth between the 1950s and 1980s had their babies forcibly taken away after they gave birth. This included mothers being forcibly restrained whilst giving birth, being pressured or coerced into signing adoption consent forms and being immediately separated from their new born child.

In 2012/13 the Victorian Premier at that time, the Hon Ted Baillieu MP, and Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP delivered apologies to those affected by forced adoption and past adoption practices.

According to documents obtained by a Brave Legal client, 48,500 adoptions took place between 1950 and 1984, when adoption legislation was reformed.

It wasn’t until 2019 that an inquiry into historical forced adoptions in Victoria was commissioned by the Legislative Assembly. The inquiry was completed in August 2021, delivering a report recommending that the Government create a redress scheme to provide affected women with:

  • a monetary payment;

  • counselling and psychological support; and

  • a direct personal response from the organisation or institution that was involved in the mother’s forced adoption.

On 10 March 2022, the Andrews’ Government announced that it will invest more than $4million dollars to design a redress scheme to provide support and compensation to women affected by forced adoption practices. A steering committee will be appointed and they have 12 months to prepare the proposed scheme.

Brave Legal supports and welcomes the Victorian Governments plan to design a redress scheme. The redress scheme will provide those women an avenue to receive compensation without needing to pursue a formal lawsuit which can be psychologically burdensome. Brave Legal is proud to advocate with and represent some of these women and we look forward to seeing the redress scheme in the next 12 months.

Bree Knoester and Jyoti Haikerwal are available to provide more information about the redress scheme and, if you are comfortable, discuss how we may be able to help you access compensation.