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“All I want to know is who I am”: archival justice for Australian Care Leavers

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posted on 05.10.2021, 06:32 by Joanne EvansJoanne Evans, Frank Golding, Cate O'Neill, RACHEL TROPEA
Archival and recordkeeping failings loom large in reports from the many inquiries and commissions held in a number of countries over the past two decades into the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect suffered by
so many people who were in institutional “care” as children. Survivors have testified repeatedly about the barriers they have faced in gaining access to records about their childhood experiences, as well as the ongoing discrimination and disadvantage that they suffer. They have repeatedly
questioned why the rights of organisations and institutions to own, administer, and arbitrate access to records are put ahead of those who have been so severely impacted upon by child welfare systems.
In this chapter, we will critically examine the response of the Australian archival and recordkeeping community to these calls, focusing in particular on the archival actions delivered through the Australian Government’s Find and Connect Program. We will identify the roles archival and recordkeeping professionals are, and should be, playing in
the ongoing struggle for equity in records and recordkeeping. We will question the extent to which archival and recordkeeping regimes embedded in existing
power structures can meet the needs of the Care Leaver community. We ask whether the profession is up to sharing, and if necessary relinquishing, archival control in order to deliver on social justice.

Funding

Designing socially inclusive, integrated, archival and recordkeeping systems and services

Australian Research Council

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