• Glen Atkinson aged 14 (left), and in Canberra Hospital (right). (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Stolen Generations and sexual abuse survivor Glen Atkinson fought 13 years for compensation, hours before he passed peacefully into the Dreamtime that fight was won.
By
Rachael Hocking

Source:
NITV News
29 May 2019 - 7:56 AM  UPDATED 29 May 2019 - 7:56 AM

Earlier this year NITV News shared the story of Stolen Generations survivor and Wolithica man Glen Atkinson, who was fighting for compensation while battling a terminal illness. 

Last month, while lying next to his wife Merryn Apma, he received a phone call informing him that his application under the National Redress Scheme had been successful. The next morning Glen passed away peacefully in his sleep.

"I burst into tears for him. I had to put the phone on speaker so he could hear those words, because he couldn't hold the phone and couldn't speak" Ms Apma told NITV News.

"He looked up at me and it's the first time he cried. He whispered to me 'thank you’."

Fight to fast-track redress payment as survivor receives terminal diagnosis
Three weeks ago, Stolen Generations survivor Glen Atkinson was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and now he and his family are fighting for reparations before he dies.

Ms Apma said they battled for 13 years for compensation. Despite more than ten years passing since the apology to the Stolen Generations, Victoria remains the only state without a compensation scheme for survivors.

Last year, in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Malcolm Turnbull announced a National Redress Scheme. All states have since signed on and, by doing so, given hope to survivors of the Stolen Generations who were abused in Children's Homes. 

The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) have assisted survivors with their applications, and confirmed Mr Atkinson is the only Aboriginal person in the state they're aware of with a successful application since the scheme opened last year. 

They praised the efforts of the scheme in fast-tracking Mr Atkinson's application, but said overall the process has been flawed. 

"It's very traumatising and it's far too slow, and there's not sufficient understanding of why some people are still waiting when it involves a state-based institution or one that has signed up to the scheme," VACCA Councillor Jeannie McIntyre said. 

"There are three people who come to mind who should have had an outcome by now."

Redress scheme is racist towards Indigenous people, Senate committee hears
People convicted of ‘serious crimes’ will not be eligible for compensation a senate, a move that has been condemned by Indigenous groups.

In a statement to NITV News, the Department of Social Services said processing times for applications vary “depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the complexity of each application”.

“Where the individual is elderly or suffering from a terminal illness they are given priority so they can receive redress as soon as possible,” the statement reads.

The Department confirmed that the scheme has received 3,700 applications and that 156 payments have been made. Another 31 are pending acceptance.

Ms Apma is also a Stolen Generations survivor and has advocated for more recognition of the suffering that goes with being taken away from family and country.  

She has joined calls for more to be done to ensure all survivors of the Stolen Generations can be financially compensated.

In the meantime, Ms Apma says the outcome her and her husband fought so hard for has been bittersweet. 

"I just wish he was here to enjoy it,” she said.