The Queensland Government commissioned the Forde Inquiry to investigate the treatment of children in licensed government and non-government institutions in Queensland. The inquiry covered 159 institutions from 1911 to 1999, excluding foster care and institutions providing care for children with disabilities or those suffering from acute or chronic health problems.
The inquiry found abuse had occurred and made 42 recommendations relating to contemporary child protection practices, youth justice and redress of past abuse.
Key initiatives implemented in the area of redress of past abuse include:
- establishment of community-based support services delivered through Lotus Place
- establishment of the Forde Foundation Trust Fund
- establishment and delivery of the Queensland Government Redress Scheme
- reconciliation initiatives including apologies, commemorative memorials and events.
In response to the recommendations of the Forde Inquiry the Queensland Government introduced the $100 million Redress Scheme in May 2007. The scheme provided ex-gratia payments ranging from $7,000 to $40,000 to people who experienced abuse and neglect as children in Queensland institutions (covered by the terms of the Forde Inquiry) to acknowledge the impact of past abuse and neglect and help people move forward with their lives.
Applications for a payment under the scheme opened 1 October 2007 and closed 30 September 2008. More than 10,200 applications were received by the closing date, with over 7,400 applications assessed as eligible for payment under the scheme.
Two levels of payment were offered through the scheme, with level two payments for those who were assessed by an expert panel as having suffered more serious harm. A definitive closing date was required to enable the two levels of payment offered under the scheme to be distributed accurately and equitably from within the funding allocation.
The scheme was finalised in June 2010. Any claims for monetary compensation from people who did not lodge an application to the Redress Scheme need to proceed through the normal legal process.
Several memorials have been established to commemorate the experiences of former residents of Queensland institutions.
A remembrance statue (pictured) in Roma Street Forum, Brisbane was established as an initiative of Forgotten Australians and funded by the Queensland Government's Gambling Community Benefit Fund with assistance from the Brisbane City Council and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.
A commemorative plaque acknowledging the experiences of former residents of Karrala House, Ipswich was installed on the site of the former facility which now forms part of the University of Queensland's Ipswich Campus. The plaque was supported by the University of Queensland and was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the department.
A commemorative plaque was established on the site of the former Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Detention Centre in Windsor, Brisbane. This plaque was funded by the department.
A Youth Justice Commemorative Artwork was dedicated at Kurilpa Point, South Brisbane.