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Welcome to the Open Place web site.

On this web site you will find information about the services we provide and how Forgotten Australians can access these services.

We are committed to continuing and expanding our outreach capacity in order to better serve isolated Forgotten Australians and isolated communities.

Please click on any of the tabs below for information about the services provided by Open Place.
On this web site you will find information about the services we provide and how Forgotten Australians can access these services.



SERVICES AVAILABLE

Records, Find & Connect
Counselling
Social Support Groups
Co-ordinated Support
Royal Commission Support
Community Education

RECENT NEWS

Apology

Redress Inquiry Information

Commonwealth Redress Scheme
As you know the Federal government has introduced legislation in to Federal parliament about the introduction of a national redress scheme.

The Senate has referred the Bill to a Senate Committee for inquiry (see below). The Senate Committee will examine the issues and is seeking comment and views from relevant stakeholders including advocacy and support groups and individuals who may be affected by the legislation.

Open Place will be making a written submission to this inquiry. Open Place’s position is that redress needs to be inclusive of all institutional abuse not only sexual abuse. Open Place will attempt to incorporate your views in the submission. Please contact Open Place if you wish to do this. Details of how to make your own submission are below.


Inquiry into the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2017 and Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017

On 30 November 2017 the Senate referred the above Bill to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 13 March 2018. The Bill and accompanying documents can be accessed here and here.

The Committee invites you to provide a written submission addressing issues that may be of relevance to you. The Committee would appreciate your submission to be lodged by 2 February 2018. Please contact the secretariat if you wish to make a submission but are unable to do so by this date.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions online as an attached document by accessing the committee website and selecting the Upload Submission Online link

here. Alternatively, submissions may be emailed as an attached document to here.

Submissions become Committee documents and are made public only after a decision by the Committee. Publication of submissions includes loading them onto the Internet and making them available to other interested parties including the media. Persons making submissions must not release them without the approval of the Committee. Submissions are covered by parliamentary privilege but the unauthorised release of them is not protected. Information relating to Senate Committee inquiries, including notes to assist in the preparation of submissions and a submission checklist can be located on the Internet here.

The Committee will consider all submissions, and may invite individuals and organisations to give evidence at public hearings.

A media release regarding this inquiry has also been issued by the Committee. If you would like to forward the media release to organisations or individuals that you think may wish to make a submission to the inquiry, it can be found online
here.

If you require further information please contact the Committee secretariat on (02) 6277 3515.



Royal Commission Final Report

The Royal Commission held its final sitting Thursday 14 December and handed down its Full Report Friday 15 December 2017. This can be found here.



Budget News

The Victorian Government has announced its budget for 2018-19. It appears that additional funding has been made available to both Open Place and CLAN. The following information is taken directly from the publically available Budget papers:

Open Place and Care Leavers Network of Australia - Additional Support

Additional funding for Open Place and CLAN of $1 million dollars per year for years 2017-18 & 2018-19. Split not specified

Open Place is a support and advocacy service that coordinates and provides direct assistance to people who grew up in Victorian institutional care. Increased funding to Open Place will increase access to universal health and welfare services for care leavers, and provide targeted brokerage funding for care leavers experiencing extreme hardship.

Care Leavers Network of Australia is a support, advocacy, research and training network for people who grew up in Australian orphanages, children's homes, foster care and other institutions. Increased funding over two years to Care Leavers Network of Australia will provide increased advocacy and support for Victorian institutional care leavers.

This initiative contributes to the Department of Human Services' Community Participation output.


Open Place will seek further advice from the Department of Health and Human Services about how this funding is to be used and what the split between Open Place and CLAN is. Please note these funds, however they are to be used, is not available until 1 July 2017.


Long Term Outcomes for Forgotten Australians (LOFA)

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently launched its study on long term outcomes for Forgotten Australians. The link to this report is here.

Despite the quality of this report, there are some rumours circulating about this research that was released on Monday.

Allegations are being made that personal details of those who may have completed the survey or participated in interviews or focus groups have been passed onto staff members within the Find and Connect services, including Micah projects (Lotus Place) and Berry Street (Open Place). THIS IS INCORRECT.

The survey was completed by participants anonymously online, and where individuals completed paper versions of the survey they were returned directly to the University in a reply paid envelope.
Information from surveys, interviews and focus groups could be accessed by the UNSW research team alone. The University has very strict policies about confidentiality.

Open Place was not involved in any interviews or focus groups. Open Place has no access to any of the data collected through the survey, interviews or focus groups.

The role of Open Place along with Berry Street was/is to act as a partner organization. Open Place provided information to the public (posters, fliers, web site and newsletter) about the research. Open Place believes the research IS A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF GETTING PERSUASIVE DATA TO CONVINCE THE POLITICIANS AND THE COMMUNITY that the health and aged care needs of Forgotten Australians ought to be a priority for government, at both a state and federal level.

The LOFA study is the first credible piece of research that actually supplies some quantitative data about the health and aged care needs of Forgotten Australians. It has long been the vision of many Forgotten Australians that the childhood abuse suffered, and that has led to long term health problems in adulthood, would be recognised by access to priority health care (accessed possibly by a version of the Veterans gold card). Such a vision can only be realised if those with the power are persuaded that something terrible happened to children in “care” and that these terrible happenings are directly connected to complex health problems in adulthood.

This is what the LOFA research has been able to demonstrate. The research offers a wonderful opportunity for advocates to lobby and argue for a gold card.

If we want politicians to take seriously the circumstances of Forgotten Australians we have to find some common ground. This research provides it. As the manager of Open Place I am proud that we have made a contribution to this ground breaking research. We have an environment, with the recent redress announcement and the continuing work of the Royal Commission, that makes change a possibility. This research adds to this momentum.

Completely unfounded rumours about breaches of privacy and confidentiality do nothing for the cause of Forgotten Australians. Collectively we can do better.

Simon Gardiner
Manager, Open Place



We Hope

The purpose of this publication launched in November 2016 at the anniversary of the National Apology is to say that Forgotten Australians matter. Their lives and their stories matter. In this publication it is the Forgotten Australians themselves speaking; of hope, recognition and justice, which many still seek as a result of childhood experiences and the struggles in adult life as a consequence of these experiences.

Click here to download the booklet


Commonwealth Media Release Regarding Redress

Below is the media release from the Commonwealth Government. The media release provides little detail of eligibility and time lines. As more details become available these will be posted on the web site. This is encouraging news but more needs to be known.

You can view this media release here.


Treasure Trove

Treasure Trove is a collection of small creative writing pieces that were produced by Forgotten Australians with the support of Open Place.

With just a few well-chosen words - brought alive with the soulful power of visual imagery - these six-word stories, three-line poems, unsent letters, single sentences and other creative writing gems open up a treasure trove of stories and experiences. Some of the pieces of writing sparkle with wisdom, some are filled with humour, and still others intrugue with the uniqueness of their vision. Many provide a glimpse of lives unimaginably altered by traumatic childhood experiences. All demonstrate an astonishing depth of resilience and courage.


Click here to download a copy of the booklet.


We Believe You Booklet

We Believe you is a compilation of the feedback given during the INSIDE Exhibition.

This booklet celebrates the fifth anniversary of the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants that was provided by the Honourable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister, and supported by the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, former Opposition Leader, on 16 November 2009.


Click here to download the booklet.


We Remember You Booklet

We Remember You is a booklet published by Open Place, for Forgotten Australians to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the unveiling of the Memorial to Forgotten Australians on Southbank. The stories contained in this booklet are part of the history of Forgotten Australians; a history that must never be forgotten. These stories tell us about suffering, endurance and resilience. Despite continuing struggles with their past experiences each, in their own way, has made a life with meaning and purpose. If you are a registered service user of Open Place and would like a copy of the booklet, please contact us on 1800 779 379 or email us at info@openplace.org.au and we’ll arrange a copy to be forwarded to you.

The we Remember You Booklet is currently being updated and will be available to download at a later date.


WHAT'S ON

events

Activities available at Open Place

Quilting Group - Every 2nd Monday from 10.00am - 2.00pm
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP if you wish to attend by calling 1800 779 379

Leatherwork Group- Every 3rd Tuesday from 10.00am - 1.00pm
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP if you wish to attend by calling 1800 779 379

Women's Walking Group - Every second Thursday at 11am. Come and join us for a stroll along the Yarra River or parks in the surrounding area.
Don't forget to bring a hat, walking shoes and a drink bottle. Open Place will provide sunscreen and an umbrella.

Men's Walking Group - The last Tuesday of every month at 1.00pm. Come and join David for a relaxing walk together. The aim is to get out of the house, exercise, chat and have fun.
Don't forget to bring a hat, walking shoes and a drink bottle. Open Place will provide sunscreen and an umbrella.

Singing Group - The 1st Friday of every month from 1.00pm - 2.30pm. Come along and sing and dance to old favourites and pick songs of your choice with Annabell.

Friday Cook-Up - A lunch is provided every Friday and served from 12.00pm - 12.30pm. All registered users welcome.