Long Term Outcomes for Forgotten Australians (LOFA)
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) launched its study on long term outcomes for Forgotten Australians on Monday 12 December 2016.
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 organisation. Open Place provided information to the public (posters, flyers, 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.
Manager, Open Place (as at December 2016)