The Story of FICH: Part 3

The 2004 Senate Enquiry wasn’t the first time the word Forgotten was applied to Australian care leavers. The excerpt below is from an article nearly 15 years prior. Lew and I and some early FICH members talked to the journalist, Carol Haffke, and were believed. She reportedly cried with one of the victims. She was someone who understood that part of justice making is to grieve with the victim.  She interviewed several victims, as well as representatives of Church and State including the Minister for Family Services Anne Warner.  A double page spread appeared in the Sunday Sun. Unfortunately I have mislaid the other page.


Below I have reproduced another part of a newspaper article, this time in the Sun Herald, which dates from near the end of the life of FICH, in December, 1993. Hopefully someone might have the missing pages of both articles.

Sun Herald 1993

One FICH member asked us to seek an apology from the Catholic Church. Lew made representations to the Catholic Social Response Unit in 1991. Meetings were held with Lew and the victim, attended by church authorities. The letter below, from Archbishop Rush, was the closest FICH came to obtaining an “Apology” for care leavers who had been abused in institutions.

The fact that we were believed, and that the church felt impelled to make even a token gesture, is testament to Lew’s integrity and determination. As Anna Bligh would note after the Forde Enquiry, it was the courage and determination of a few individuals, Lew among them, that persuaded reluctant authorities to act. That it took several decades, and the premature death of so many, is a cause for national shame.




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