ABC TV - '4 Corners', Monday 24, 2014 - IN OUR CARE
By Nick McKenzie, Karen Michelmore and Peter Cronau
In Our Care - 24th November, 2014
When it comes to people with disabilities, caregivers are supposed to be exactly that - carers, protecting the most vulnerable in our community.
But what if managers in a major institution ignored warning signs that staff may have been abusing people in their care, effectively allowing the abuse, including sexual assault, to continue?
This week, in a joint Four Corners/Fairfax investigation, reporter Nick McKenzie lifts the lid on a major scandal involving one of the country's biggest disability providers. How did a respected provider fail in its duty to the people it has sworn to protect and nurture?
Despite their horrific experiences, a number of disabled people and former staff speak about their treatment. The allegations they make are deeply disturbing.
They detail shocking sexual assaults inflicted repeatedly upon numerous disabled clients… with the victims left to fend for themselves, scarreed and terrified.
They tell how complaints were ignored and whistleblowers targeted, their warnings not acted upon. As a result, two men employed by the organisation - and now allegedly a third - went on to rape and sexually abuse disabled clients.
As one person employed by the organisation explains, there were two aspects to the abuse. One involved the assaults and harassment, the other was the failure to act on the warnings and complaints.
"There was a sort of bunkering down, we don't want any more bad publicity, as much as possible we want to sweep it under the carpet."
Using first-hand testimony from the abused, the whistleblowers and many documents, the program makes it clear the problems did not involve just one facility, but were across an organisation.
Those who know the disability sector now say the evidence presented demands a full inquiry by the Government to discover the extent of the problem and prevent it happening again in the future.
IN OUR CARE, reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 24th November at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th November at 11.00am and 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
First posted November 20, 2014 15:25:00