As Constable Riggs (Jason Clarke) arrives, Maude (Ningali Lawford) realises he has come to take the children. They run, but Riggs cuts off their escape route and seizes the children one by one. He warns Gracie (Laura Monaghan) to stay in the car or he’ll lock up her mother. Tiny Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) is easier to subdue but the eldest girl, Molly (Everlyn Sampi), fights back. As the police car drives away, the mothers and Molly’s grandmother (Myarn Lawford) are left wailing in the dust.
This is probably the film’s most controversial scene, as well as the most harrowing, partly because it’s different to the way Doris Pilkington Garimara describes her abduction in the book. The book’s description is more resigned and less violent, although it describes an aftermath that’s very similar, with the women wailing and beating their heads with rocks, to draw blood. One of the reasons the scene is controversial is that it leaves no doubt that the children were 'stolen’ from their families. That word is highly contested by some white historians and politicians, who argued that the removal of Aboriginal children was not stealing, but legal and necessary for the welfare of children at risk. The debate over the language used to describe the policy of forced removal continues to rage in Australia, 10 years after the Bringing Them Home report was published in 1997.