Urgent action by the federal and state governments is needed to close the health and socio-economic “gap in a divide” experienced by survivors of the Stolen Generation.
A report by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) released on Wednesday found that survivors over 50 face worse living conditions than their indigenous counterparts.
The study estimates that there are more than 27,000 survivors in the age group in 2018-19, nearly double the figure from four years earlier.
Compared to other Aboriginal people over the age of 50, survivors are more likely to live with poor health and other stressors. They are also 1.4 times more likely to have poor mental health.
Compared to non-Indigenous Australians, they are six times more likely to live in crowded homes and four times more likely to not own their home.
They are more likely to suffer from a range of long-term health problems, such as kidney disease (4.6 times), diabetes (3.1), lung disease (three), and heart disease (2 , 7).
The Healing Foundation says there is clear evidence that survivors have higher levels of disadvantage throughout their lifetimes and that governments urgently support the healing process.
“One of the most important findings is that all survivors of the stolen generation will be eligible by next year for elderly care,” said CEO Fiona Cornforth.
“With the current reforms in the elderly care sector, we have a unique opportunity to build care systems tailored to the particular health, cultural and healing needs of the survivors of the stolen generations.
“There is a ‘gap in the gap’.”
In a separate report, the Healing Foundation made several recommendations that it believes will meet the aspirations of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report.
Key priorities include a survivor and government co-designed reparation program for survivors and government investment in healing programs focused on counseling and cultural reconnection.
More than a third of adult aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are descended from older generations who were forcibly removed, the AIHW report notes.
This equates to 142,200 descendants nationally in 2018-2019, compared to 114,800 in 2014-2015.
“The evidence is compelling. Withdrawal is traumatic for too many of our people. Yet it is simply not factored or factored into policies, funding decisions or funding. service delivery, ”said Cornforth.
“Intergenerational trauma can end in intergenerational healing.”
The AIHW estimates that the number of survivors has more than doubled, from 17,150 in 2014-15 to 33,600 in 2018-19.
AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman said it is likely that over time, indigenous peoples who were taken from their families when they were children will increasingly become willing to report their experiences.
The AIHW report was based on a series of surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australian Associated Press