Child protection system

Painted canvas with STOLEN written in the middle surrounded by hand prints and words like Freedom, Childhood, Homes, Culture, Song, Language, Lore, Families
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Counsel Assisting Fiona McLeod AO SC, Aunty Hazel Hudson, Njernda, Felicia Dean, Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative, Shellee Strickland, Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Operative
Kimberley Do, Yappera, Lisa Thorpe, Bubup Wilam, and Stacey Brown, Yappera
Kimberley Do, Yappera, Lisa Thorpe, Bubup Wilam, and Stacey Brown, Yappera
Aunty Rieo Ellis, Grandmothers Against Removal wearing a "our kids belong with family" t-shirt
Aunty Rieo Ellis, Grandmothers Against Removal
The Wright Family. Aunty Donna, Aunty Joanne Farrant and Aunty Tina photo from the shoulders up
The Wright Family. Aunty Donna, Aunty Joanne Farrant and Aunty Tina

Injustice in the child protection system 

The Yoorrook Justice Commission is looking into the child protection system as part of the truth telling process in Victoria.

Yoorrook has been told that for First Peoples in Victoria there is an unbroken connection between their experiences with colonial child removal practices and their experiences with the current Victorian Child Protection system. These traumas, historical and contemporary, continue to impact First Peoples families and communities.

Decades on from the Stolen Generations, the Victorian Government is removing First Peoples children at the highest rate in Australia. Despite commitments to do the opposite, the rate at which the Victorian Government is imprisoning Aboriginal people has increased significantly over the past decade.

Chair of the Commission and proud Wergaia/Wamba Wamba Elder, Professor Eleanor Bourke AM

On this page you will find some of the responses Yoorrook has received as part of its inquiry. If you want to contribute, please make a submission to the Yoorrook Justice Commission.

Aunty Di Kerr is an Elder of the Wurundjeri people. This submission describes Aunty Di’s story, including the importance of ceremony and her role in reviving coming of age and naming ceremonies. It also details Aunty Di’s experience as a foster carer, her work with kids in out of home care, and with Link Up.
Aunty Diane-Kerr wearing a possum skin cloak with green bush and gum trees in the background
Maria Van Zyl is from the Stolen Generation. This submission outlines her experience growing up in out-of-home care, her attempts to reconnect with her father and obtain her files from welfare.
Wonyarna Christopher Lee Edwards is a Gunai Kurnai man. This submission describes Wonyarna’s experience in custody in both adult and youth justice facilities, including the impact of three months spent in solitary confinement. Wonyarna writes about being removed from his mother aged nine and spending his childhood in out of home care. He also describes the importance of painting to connect to his culture and ancestors through art.

Child protection system reports, hearings and evidence

View the reports, hearings and evidence Yoorrook collected during the investigation into the child protection system.

Yoorrook for Justice

The report details extensive systemic injustice, racism, discriminatory laws and policy failures that have, and continue to, cause harm to First Peoples. It highlights that present injustice has deep roots in the colonial foundations of the state.

The report makes landmark recommendations about self-determination for First Peoples in Victoria. First Peoples must have decision-making power, authority, control and resources in the child protection and criminal justice systems as these relate to them. The Victorian Government must uphold its commitment to self-determination through negotiation under the treaty process.

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Child protection system

News, Stories and Videos

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Videos
10 October 2023

Yoorrook for Justice: Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems

Following a 12-month inquiry, the ‘Yoorrook for Justice: Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems’ details extensive systemic injustice, racism, discriminatory laws and policy failures that have, and continue to, cause harm to First Peoples. The report and a full list of recommendations can be found here: www.yoorrookforjustice.org.au
Proud Ngemba and Ngiyampaa woman Tara Fry and Aunty Sheza Lyle, a proud Darumbal, Murri, Yorta Yorta and Irish woman and grandmother
News & Stories
13 July 2023

What it was like making a submission

“I think it’s important to set the record straight about what really happened and continues to happen to us. I feel the rest of Australia would have more empathy for us if they knew the truth. Also, mob telling their story will help Yoorrook influence changes to policies which will create a better future for our children.”
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News & Stories
12 June 2023

3CR Community Radio ‘Doin Time’

Yoorrook Commissioner Sue-Anne Hunter gave an update on the work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission on @3CR Community Radio’s ‘Doin Time’.
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Videos
6 June 2023

The Wright family continue their mother’s fight for justice by giving evidence to the Yoorrook Justice Commission

“When our grandmother came home, she said her house was burnt down and she didn’t know where her children were.” Sisters Aunty Donna and Aunty Tina Wright, and Aunty Joanne Farrant, with support from their brother Sonny Wright, shared their family’s truth with the Yoorrook Justice Commission in an on-Country hearing. Their evidence was played at a Yoorrook hearing investigating

Other information