National Indigenous Times

Victoria Police Commissioner Issues Historic Apology For Role In Stolen Generations

Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton has formally apologised to Indigenous communities across the state for the police’s involvement in the Stolen Generations. 

The apology was delivered in Melbourne’s north, attended by Indigenous community leaders and elders.

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“It’s vital for Victoria Police to face up to and accept responsibility for the widespread harm caused to Aboriginal people by the role police played in forcibly removing children from their families,” Commissioner Patton said. 

“I am deeply sorry for the harm which this has caused and the harm which continues to be felt now,” he said.

The program named ‘Apology to the Stolen Generations’ saw elders and community leaders come together to witness the long-awaited acknowledgment. 

Commissioner Patton said the apology was “long overdue.”

“I do want to acknowledge the extraordinary resilience, the diversity, the strength, and the cultural survival of Aboriginal people in the face of historical harms and the legacy that persists to this day,” he added.

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“While we cannot change history, we can accept the harsh truth of it and learn from it, so these harms are never repeated.”

From 1964 until 1992, Victoria Police was among several agencies authorised to forcibly remove children deemed “neglected” from their families and communities.

Aunty Esme Bamblett, chief executive of the Aborigines Advancement League, expressed her respect for Commissioner Patton’s willingness to engage with the community and apologise. 

“Shane (Patton), I want to thank you and your mob for even having the guts to come and apologise,” she said. 

“I want to let you know that I respect you personally. Today hopefully we will all put our arms around each other and remember it was a terrible time.”

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