Historic apology to victims of forced adoptions Thu 18 October 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version Tasmania has taken a historic step towards healing past injustices by delivering a formal apology to mothers, fathers and their children who are now adults, hurt by the past practice of forced adoptions. The Premier, Lara Giddings, welcomed the support of all three parties in offering the apology on behalf of the Tasmanian community. "We are here today to acknowledge that forced adoptions were immoral and illegal, and we offer our unreserved and sincere apology," Ms Giddings said. "We deeply regret that these actions caused great pain and suffering to mothers and their children and profoundly affected the lives of fathers, grandparents, siblings, partners and other family members. "To those Tasmanian families separated by an adoption that was forced upon them we express our heartfelt sympathy and we are sorry." Ms Giddings acknowledged the lifelong damage that has been done to the victims of forced adoption and committed to ensuring that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. "Mothers were not informed of their rights and were not given the opportunity to provide consent to adoption. "Many were denied the most pure and instinctive human need - the chance to touch and hold their babies. "To the mothers who have suffered so much; we acknowledge your anger, your grief and your loss and we are sorry." Ms Giddings also acknowledged the trauma experienced by children, who are now adults, who were denied the opportunity to grow up knowing their parents. "We cannot imagine how it must feel to discover inadvertently that you are adopted and then to find that you were removed from a mother who was given no choice. For that, we are sorry. "To those fathers who were denied a role in the upbringing of their child and sometimes even barred from the place of their birth, we are sorry." Ms Giddings acknowledged that revisiting the sensitive topic of forced adoptions would generate mixed emotions. "I know that by making this apology today we are shining the light on some dark secrets and deeply held fears. I hope that by saying sorry we can help lighten their burden. "Not everyone who has been separated from a family member considers it a damaging experience and that there have been very positive and loving circumstances of adoption. We accept and respect those feelings." Ms Giddings said the State Government recognised that words alone could not heal the emotional burden of those hurt by forced adoption. "The Government will provide free access to specialised counselling and support by Relationships Australia. Free access to records to those affected will be available through Adoption Information Services from Monday October 22nd. "We will also commission a lasting memorial as an expression of our heartfelt sympathy to those who have suffered as a result of past adoption practices." Those who have been affected by past adoption practices can seek support by contacting Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 or Adoption Information Services on 6233 2273.