The Make Healing Happen: It’s time to act report sets out a plan with recommendations to achieve real and lasting healing for Stolen Generations survivors, their families and communities.

It was launched by The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Cornforth at the National Press Club of Australia on 2 June 2021, in conjunction with a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) that estimates the number of Stolen Generations survivors has increased from 17,150 in 2014-15 to 33,600 in 2018-19.

Together, these reports signal the urgent need for policy responses from all Australian governments to assist the healing process for Stolen Generations survivors and descendants.

Make Healing Happen tells policymakers how to restore dignity for those who have suffered and recognises the centrality of self-determination and the strengths of First Nations cultures in healing historical trauma and driving an intergenerational healing movement.

We must make healing happen – urgently.

It’s time to act.

Make Healing Happen - It's time to act

Despite the 1997 Bringing them Home report, the 2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations, and many other inquiries, there has still been no systematic government response to the needs and rights of Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants.

Stolen Generations survivors have endured a lifetime of trauma, grief and loss, and as a result they carry a significant burden of health, wellbeing, social, and economic disadvantage. They are growing older, and many live with disabilities and complex health problems, including poor mental health. They have increasingly complex and overlapping needs yet face personal and systemic barriers to accessing services. They are worried about the future of their families.

The trauma caused by the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children has been passed on to subsequent generations. It is reflected in the higher levels of disadvantage borne by Stolen Generations descendants and in the dangerous levels of child removals and incarceration suffered by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities today.

Healing is fundamental to First Nations peoples reaching their full personal, cultural, social, educational, and economic potential. Healing is about restoring the wellbeing, strength of spirit, family connections, and lore that has made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures the oldest living cultures on earth.

Make Healing Happen provides an in-depth insight into the experiences of Stolen Generations survivors and the extent and complexity of their contemporary needs as they grow older. It presents demographic data about where Stolen Generations survivors and their families live, and it considers the impact of forced removal on Stolen Generations descendants.

There is an urgent need to heal past wrongs – for the wellbeing of those who were stolen, their descendants who have inherited their trauma, their communities who continue to hurt, and for Australia as a nation.


Download the OVERVIEW

Download the Make Healing Happen Report

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations aged 50 and over: updated analyses for 2018–19

This report, collated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, provides contemporary evidence of the ‘gap within the gap’. It shows that Stolen Generations survivors aged 50 and over are more likely to be worse off than other Indigenous Australians of the same age on a range of health and socioeconomic outcomes.

We now know that there are more than 30,000 survivors, all of whom will be aged 50 and over in 2022; and that, across the nation, a third of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are descended from Stolen Generations. In some States and Territories, descendants make up more than half of the population.

This represents significant challenges for governments to address the growing needs in health, aged care, education, social justice, and equity.

It also represents a unique opportunity to unite the nation to achieve healing for all Australians.


Download the AIHW Report

Fiona Cornforth

Fiona Cornforth is a Wuthathi descendant of the far northeast cape of Queensland with family roots also in the Torres Strait Islands.

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Harry Williams

Harry Williams is a proud Wiradjuri man from Cowra, New South Wales.

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Ian Hamm

Ian Hamm is a Yorta Yorta man from Shepparton in central Victoria. In 1964, he was separated from his family when he was three weeks old. He grew up just 50 kilometres away from them, unaware of their existence.

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The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Cornforth's Speech to the National Press Club, 2 June 2021

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