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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

“False promises” on migration and lies about family

25. Many witnesses described being given false accounts of the positive life they could expect in Australia: CM-A6 believed it meant going on an “adventure holiday”, and CM-A13 described being told of “gold on the street [and] …oranges” and that this turned out to be  “… a pack of lies”.[1] Several also suggested that their parents were given false information: for example, CM-A26 gave evidence that her parents had consented on the basis that their children would be able to return to the UK if they “didn’t like it in Australia”.[2] Michael Hawes later learned that one of his teachers cautioned against his migration, noting that he had had “so many upsets in his life” that “it might even be better for Michael to stay here”.[3] 

26. Many witnesses described being lied to about their family background and even as to whether their parents were alive: CM-A4, for example, was wrongly told that his parents had died in the war.[4] CM-A11, Francis Hanley and Michael O’Donoghue all gave evidence that their parents had also been lied to as to where their children were and who was caring for them. The failure to be honest with some of the children about their families often led to a complete severing of family ties, which were never properly repaired in later life, and this caused devastating loss to many of the former child migrants. 



  1. CM-A6 1 March 2017 66; CM-A13 7 March 2017 50.
  2. CM-A26 7 March 2017 143.
  3. Hawes 2 March 2017 115-116.
  4. CM-A4 1 March 2017 36.
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