Stolen generation members and their descendants suffer much greater levels of health, social and economic disadvantage than indigenous people who weren't forcibly removed from their families, a study shows.
While the disadvantage gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians are well known, the new study by the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare provides the first detailed insight into the extensive problems endured by the stolen generation.
It found stolen generation members are in much poorer health than other indigenous Australians and are more likely to have been jailed, homeless or unemployed.
They're also more likely to be relying on government welfare to survive, and experience higher rates of violence and mental health problems.
The picture is just as grim for their descendants, who are more likely than other indigenous Australians to be in poor health and have experienced greater levels of violence, discrimination and arrest rates.
The study was commissioned by the Healing Foundation to uncover the extent of health, economic and social problems the stolen generation suffers as a result of being removed from their families under government policies imposed between 1910 and 1972.
"What it's showing us is what we've known for quite a while but we didn't know how many and how badly, and it's worse than what we would have thought," chair of the foundation's board Professor Steve Larkin told AAP.
"It's time to act, not to argue the toss."
The foundation will use the findings to draw up an action plan it plans to present to the federal government later this year.
It is also likely to include calls for a reparation scheme to compensate members of the stolen generation - a recommendation first made in the 2007 Bringing Them Home report.
"This is an ageing group and their needs are quite complex," Prof Larkin said.
"We need to act quickly. Surely they're entitled to some quality of life in the time that they have left."
The AIWH study found that most of the surviving members of the stolen generation are now aged over 50, live in urban areas and have trouble accessing support services.
They were more than three times as likely as other indigenous Australians to have been jailed in the past five years, and about twice as likely to have been arrested, and rely on government welfare.
They were also 1.7 times as likely to not to own a home, be unemployed and have experienced homelessness.
Many of their problems have carried on to the next generation.
For the 114,800 descendants of the stolen generation, they were twice as likely as other indigenous Australians to feel discriminated against, and be a victim of violence.
They were also about 1.5 times as likely to be in poor health and to have been arrested.
STOLEN GENERATION STUDY FINDINGS
* 17,000 members of the stolen generation are still alive
* 56pct are female
* 79pct live in non-remote areas
* 66pct were aged over 50 in 2014/15
* They are 3.3 times as likely as other indigenous Australians to have been incarcerated in the past five years
* 1.8 times as likely to rely on government payments as their main income
* 1.7 times as likely to experience violence, not own their own home
* 1.6 times as likely to be jobless, in poor health, have experienced homelessness
* 1.5 times as likely to have mental health problems, experienced discrimination
* 91pct never completed Year 12
* 67pct live with a disability
* 66pct live in the lowest income households
* 62pct are unemployed
(Source: AIHW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and Descendants report)
Australian Associated Press