Girls and Children: Stages of Institutional Violence 4b - Displacing Children


Displacing Children

In this photo, a young mother sits on a bench placed in a vast regional landscape. In front of her a hopscotch has been drawn onto the ground surface. Children's toys are scattered around it. She is alone, without her child.

[imagecaption] ‘Mother (hopscotch)’, Mother series, inkjet print on paper, 80×120cm, 2016. Photo: Michael Cook. Image courtesy of the artist [/imagecaption]


The sexual degradation of Indigenous women’s bodies played a key role in the  the dispersal of Indigenous people from their lands, the break-up of communities, the trafficking of women and children and institutionalised child removal policies. Children fathered by white men were targeted for assimilation into the white population through policies of cultural genocide, such as the residential school system in Canada and the missions for the stolen generations in Australia.

‘The removal of Indigenous children in the early part of the 20th century relied on views that Indigenous parenting was negligent and, in particular, that Indigenous female sexuality was a threat that needed to be controlled by targeting pubescent girls’

Baldry and Cunneen (2014, 285)

In Australia, forced child removals continue to increase exponentially today. Despite the placement principle that requires Indigenous children to be first placed with family, as a second option with an Aboriginal community member, as a third option with another Aboriginal person, and, as a final option only with a non-Aboriginal person, increasingly children are being placed in culturally inappropriate placements in the first instance.


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