Link-Up Victoria logo
Home/Media/Will We Forgive? Victoria Police Apology to Stolen Generations
Zoom 0

Will We Forgive? Victoria Police Apology to Stolen Generations

Samuel C/

On Friday 24 May Chief Commissioner of Police Shane Patton will provide an acknowledgement and apology to the Stolen Generations for the role of Victoria Police in the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities.

Between 1910 and 1979, 100,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their parents and placed into institutional care. Police played a significant role in implementing the policies that separated these children from their families. 

Speaking at the Apology today, VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett recalls the shameful ‘protection’ era of Australia’s history, where police played a fundamental role in ensuring government policy that separated Aboriginal children from their families was implemented.

She spoke of the stories from this time, told via archival footage of Aboriginal people being herded up; of the massacre sites; and of children being placed in cars and driven away - removed from their family and community.

She spoke also of the ongoing impact of colonisation and its brutal interruption of the transmission of Aboriginal cultural practices, ceremonies, language and arts between generations. How the forced removal of children has irreparably damaged the composition of our families, economic livelihoods, and futures.

Reflecting on the criminalisation and ongoing marginalisation of Aboriginal peoples, Ms Bamblett spoke of the reverberating trauma and pain felt through generations caused by the denial of basic human rights at the hands of those charged with protecting the communities in their care.

Speaking to attendees, Ms Bamblett asked if the Commissioner would provide recognition from police of the harm they have caused, police commitment to eliminating the scourge of institutional racism, if there would be an admission of failure or fault. Importantly, Ms Bamblett questioned whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be able to forgive.

In closing remarks, Ms Bamblett shared her hope for a reimagined future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, and of the role of Treaty and Truth Telling on the path to mutual respect.

Quotes attributable to Muriel Bamblett - VACCA CEO:

“Today, will we hear recognition from the Commissioner of the harm police have caused? Will there be an admission of their failure to protect, an admission of responsibility or fault? No doubt we will hear of regret and the word ‘sorry’. But will we hear of what is being done to eliminate the scourge of institutional racism, of what police will do to provide redress? Will we forgive?”

“The protection period was a shameful time in Australia’s history, when institutionalised and legalised discrimination reached its peak. Police were authorised to exercise extensive control over the lives of Aboriginal people – through enforcing racist government policy, the theft of our children, spatial apartheid and social control.”

“The trauma and pain caused during this period and the active role police took in our dispossession reverberates through the generations. Today’s Aboriginal people experience this trauma anew in the form of law and order.”

“The process of criminalisation, denial of human rights, marginalisation and incarceration of our people ensure that we are maintained as a dispossessed minority.”

“Through Treaty and the Yoorrook Truth Telling, I hope that our children will experience a country built on shared rights and responsibilities, mutual respect and treasuring of our diverse traditions. I hope it becomes story of truth overcoming denial, justice overcoming oppression, and hope overcoming despair.”

- ENDS -


Beth Cesarin - Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
PH: 0439 117 408 E:

Sarah Gafforini – Director, Office of the CEO VACCA
PH: 0427 621 421 E:


The Victorian Aboriginal Child and Community Agency (VACCA) is Victoria’s Peak Voice for Aboriginal children. We are the leading provider of Aboriginal child and family services, and the largest provider of services for Aboriginal family violence and homelessness. We have been supporting children, young people, and families in the community for over 47 years as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO). 

Through our vision of self-determination – Live, Experience, and Be – we exist to support culturally strong, safe, and thriving Aboriginal communities. We deliver over 80 programs across Victoria including child and family services, family violence, support for stolen generations, child protection, cultural strengthening programs, mental health, financial services, justice and redress support, early years, and homelessness services. 


Link-Up Victoria provides support to the Stolen Generations, helping them to find and reunite with family, reconnect to culture, proudly walk their Country and reclaim their Aboriginal identity.

Link-Up is the only service in Victoria to provide reunions for the Stolen Generations. These reunions help create connections to family, culture and Country to encourage healing and gives survivors a sense of who they are and where they belong.

To access Link-Up Victoria’s services, visit or call 1800 OUR MOB (687 662)

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we work. We pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and to their children and young people who are the future elders and caretakers of this great land.

Ready to connect?

Get in touch to find out how we can support you on your path forward
Send us an enquiry
or let's have a chat
03 7002 3700