Forced Adoption Compensation

If you were separated at birth through forced adoptions in New Zealand between 1950 and 1980, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

We are here to help you right wrong.

Background on forced adoptions in New Zealand

Between 1950 and 1980, there were many unwed mothers who had their newborn children forcefully taken from them by the government and faith-based institutions. This is often referred to as the “baby scoop era”.

Many of these mothers suffered through being:

  • sent to maternity homes with harsh conditions;
  • made to feel like they weren’t fit to be parents;
  • forcibly restrained while giving birth;
  • immediately separated from their newborn babies;
  • coerced or pressured to sign adoption consent forms – against their will or under the influence of drugs that impaired their ability to give informed consent;
  • treated cruelly by staff;
  • provided with substandard medical care;
  • left traumatised by the birthing experience; and
  • unprotected and uninformed about their legal rights.

The trauma of a forced adoption often negatively impacts a survivor’s:

  • ability to form relationships;
  • mental health; with many suffering PTSD, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts; and
  • physical health.

It has taken decades for many of these women to seek legal advice only to be told it’s too late to sue the responsible organisations due to the New Zealand Limitation Act.

Do I have a forced adoption compensation claim?

If you were impacted by forced adoption practices between 1950 and 1980, you may be able to access compensation.

Whether you were an unwed mother or father who was forced to give up your child, or you are one of the children taken from their parents under these circumstances, our abuse law team is here to provide the legal advice and guidance you need.

What can I claim for?

Shine Lawyers is currently lobbying for the institutions involved in forced adoption practices to compensate individuals who were impacted by the “baby scoop era”.

Although nothing can restore what was taken from you, you may be able to access:

  • financial compensation;
  • counselling support; and
  • a direct personal response from the responsible organisations, such as mothers’ homes, hospitals and adoption agencies.

What are the current laws around adoptions in New Zealand?

The New Zealand Government recently conducted a review of the outdated Adoption Act 1955.

During this process, Shine Lawyers made submissions recommending that the law be changed to prevent the practice of forceful removal of children from happening again. We also recommended the government remove the Limitation Act strict time limits for individuals who were directly impacted by the “baby scoop era”, to allow them to bring claims against the institutions who facilitated the forceful removal of children.

Shine Lawyers has also been closely following the Royal Commission’s Inquiry into Abuse in Care. The Royal Commission’s final recommendations are expected to be complete by June 2023 and will include recommendations on how to approach historic claims of forced adoption.

Why trust Shine with my forced adoption claim?

We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday people for more than 45 years throughout Australasia. With our combined experience, our team of abuse law experts are equipped to provide you and your family with the holistic care and guidance you need throughout your legal journey.

We are here to listen to you, act on your behalf, and help you access the compensation you deserve. We will strive to make this process as simple as possible while helping you to access outcomes that truly matter to you.

Get in touch today to organise a confidential, obligation-free consultation to discuss your options.

Meet our Forced Adoption compensation experts

Our dedicated team specialise in providing legal advice and guidance to survivors, helping them access the justice and acknowledgement they deserve. The team includes:

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