Royal Commission final report presented to the Governor-General

12th January 2013, Sydney - Former Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP pictured with Margaret Humphreys CBE, OAM

12th January 2013, Sydney - Former Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP pictured with Margaret Humphreys CBE, OAM

The following statement was made by Margaret Humphreys, International Director of the Child Migrants Trust:

“Today the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its final report.  It makes shocking reading.  

The Child Migrants Trust is proud to have been a key stakeholder in the most significant inquiry into the sexual abuse of children.  

Australia leads the world on this issue.  The Commissioners have our huge respect for their courage and tenacity.   We look forward to its conclusions being implemented after due consideration.”

26th March 2015 - Former Child Migrants gather for the Royal Commission hearings in Sydney

26th March 2015 - Former Child Migrants gather for the Royal Commission hearings in Sydney

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Gordon Brown tells inquiry that 2,000 forgotten child migrants must be compensated over abuse

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown - Thursday 20th July 2017

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown - Thursday 20th July 2017


In what he says could be “the worst national sex abuse scandal in numbers, length of time unchecked and geographical scope”, Gordon Brown says migrant children who suffered horrific attacks before and after being sent to Australia and other Commonwealth countries should be compensated before they die.

The former Prime Minister, who today gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, says he has become aware of so many cases he describes as “grave, horrifying and sickening”.

And he has demanded that a current Government minister must appear before the inquiry to explain why no further action has been taken since he made an apology on behalf of the UK in 2010.

He says the 2,000 child migrants – who are still alive – need not just an apology but proper redress and compensation.

Mr Brown said: “Children were denied a childhood, an identity, a family and any sense of belonging. That violation of human rights led to the 2010 apology I made on behalf of the UK.

A group of British children arrive in Australia in 1947

A group of British children arrive in Australia in 1947

“Many, some as young as three – and this was happening as recently as the 1970s – were sent abroad, often having been falsely told their parents were dead.

“But, given the new evidence of sexual abuse, our apology told only half of the story.

“The sheer scale of sexual abuse of British-born girls and boys could be worse than in the Savile scandal and further children’s homes outrages we are aware of.

”Clearly, successive governments have failed in a duty of care.”

In February, 2010, Mr Brown, who was then Prime Minister, apologised on behalf of the nation to the child migrants.

More than 130,000 UK children, some as young as three, were sent abroad to former colonies such as Australia from the 1920s to the 1960s with the promise of a new life.

Instead, they were often left vulnerable to cruelty and, in many cases, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

After campaigning by the Child Migrants Trust – headed by Dr Margaret Humphreys who has done amazing, extraordinarily-detailed and compassionate work over three decades revealed this – and an apology by the then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Mr Brown said in 2010: “To all those former child migrants and their families, we are truly sorry. You were let down.”

At the time Mr Brown also announced £6million for the Family Restoration Fund to help reunite former child migrants with their families.

Yesterday, however, Mr Brown said that the 2010 apology told only half of the story and he urged the inquiry: “Because we failed in our duty of care, it is now time to compensate the 2,000 child migrants still alive.

“In Australia, a national redress scheme may offer up to 150,000A$ to abused migrants. It is for Australian and other Commonwealth countries to compensate for the failure to protect and prosecute when children came to their country.

“In the recent Northern Ireland Inquiry, compensation has also been recommended. At a minimum, we should match Northern Ireland in what would be a £40million fund for national redress.

“And a UK Government minister should now come before the inquiry to explain how, as a country, the new evidence since 2010 was not acted upon and how we will offer remedy.

“My apology seven years ago was for the gross inhumane violation of rights by forcibly removing children, depriving them of identity, family and any sense of belonging.

“An unknown but clearly large number of these children were subjected to horrific assaults sometimes before, sometimes during, but in the main after they left the UK.

“Because successive governments failed in what I call their duty of care these 2,000 surviving migrants all need and deserve redress.

“And a serving cabinet minister needs to explain why governments, since 2010, have failed to act on the horrifying new evidence we now have.”

Mr Brown told the inquiry that 1,000 families have been reunited since 2010.

He added: “Many more want to be brought together before they die. There are 100 on a waiting list to come to the UK to meet their families and the Child Migrants Trust must continue to be able to bring migrants to reunite families. So in addition to the redress they need guaranteed funding for at least another five years

‘It is clear that the Australian and UK apologies in 2009 and 2010 led to a willingness to talk and brought out into the open, after 2010, the vast scale of sexual and other abuse.

“The inquiry has to put in place procedures that must ensure such abuse and violation never happens again.”

The article can be accessed here

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U.K. Apology to former Child Migrants - 7th Anniversary


To mark the occasion of the 7th Anniversary of the UK Government apology to Britain's former Child Migrants, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“We must never forget the harm caused to child migrants and the distress caused to thousands of families who were unjustly broken up by the child migration schemes.

“While we cannot undo their suffering, we owe it to victims and survivors to continue to learn from the mistakes of the past.

“That is why, seven years on from the National Apology, I am pleased hundreds of families have been reunited through the Family Restoration Fund and that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is currently investigating allegations of child sexual abuse in the British child migration programmes.”

The video links below show the 2010 statement by Gordon Brown and the response of Harold Haig, Secretary of the International Association of former Child Migrants and their Families:



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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – the first public hearings for the Child Migration Programmes

On Monday 27 February 2017, the first public hearings connected to the Child Migration Programmes case study began in London, as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) heard evidence in public for the first time.

IICSA was established as a statutory inquiry on 12 March 2015 to consider the growing evidence of institutional failures to protect children from child sexual abuse, and to make recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for children in future. It has launched thirteen investigations into a variety of institutions as part of the first phase of its work, and as part of the “Protection of Children Outside the United Kingdom” investigation, IICSA took the decision to divide such investigation into a number of narrower case studies. This includes the subject of the hearings that begin on 27 February 2017: a case study investigating institutional failings of organisations based in England and Wales relating to the sexual abuse of children involved in Child Migration Programmes.

A summary of IICSA’s background statement relating to Child Migration Programmes and associated child sexual abuse can be found here.

The Child Migrants Trust, along with other entities and individuals, has been designated as a ‘core participant’. This is a formal role, as defined by legislation, and affords core participants with special rights in IICSA’s processes, including the disclosure of documentation and being represented and making legal submissions during IICSA’s hearings.

As some former child migrants prepare to give their testimony to the Inquiry in the following two weeks, the Child Migrants Trust will be supporting them as they tell the people of Britain what happened to them so that lessons can be learnt and justice delivered.

The Inquiry proceedings were live-streamed online and the recordings can be viewed here.

For all media relations queries, please contact Alex Barros-Curtis, telephone: 07877 065866

About the Child Migrants Trust

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Past Prime Minister Gordon Brown's news item today

In 2010 I made an official apology to former child migrants sent abroad - my apology was incomplete

Many of these 4,000 child migrants were also sexually abused and we owe it to all of them to hold responsible those to blame

For the full article please click here

In response, Margaret Humphreys, International Director of the Child Migrants Trust says:

"Gordon Brown apologised to all former Child Migrants and their families in 2010 on behalf of the nation.  After apology must surely follow truth and justice.

The British Child Migration Schemes cast a very long, dark shadow over the lives of thousands of young British children, their families and our country too.

At last, their testimony will be given to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

Child Migrants have waited all their lives for this opportunity to bear witness to their Country.  We must surely listen, learn lessons and deliver justice."

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