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WA apologises to children abused in care

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 7 April 2005

The Western Australian Government has issued an official apology to people who were abused in institutional care between the 1920s and the 1970s.

The apology is in response to a recommendation of a Senate inquiry into children in institutional care titled /Forgotten Australians/.

The inquiry found that the symbolism of an apology was important in recognising past wrongs and enabling closure for the victims.

Premier Geoff Gallop has told Parliament many of the children were placed in care by government agencies.

"We apologise to all those people who were harmed as children while in institutional care and express deep regret at the hurt and distress this caused," he said.

"The West Australian Government acknowledges and accepts that children in institutions suffered emotional neglect and many suffered physical and sexual abuse by those entrusted with their care.

"We recognise that the effects of physical, psychological and sexual abuse did not end when these children became adults."

Dr Gallop says the victims' personal histories must be heard and acknowledged in order to build a better care system for the future.

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