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LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Abuse & Neglect

Care worker charged

by Shannon Deery, Herald Sun, February 3, 2015

A former Department of Human Services disability worker was bailed yesterday on charges of molesting men at disability supported accommodation in Melbourne's east.

Craig Gilbert Handasyde faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 19 charges.

It is alleged he sexually abused men in several homes, but details have not yet been revealed.

The Herald Sun understands Mr Handasyde made Disabled men molested by staffer, court told voluntary disclosures to police about his behaviour while working with DHS.

It is understood that police had not been investigating Mr Handasyde at the time.

He has not worked in the disability sector since December 2013.  Mr Handasyde's name has now been provided to the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme, which means he is not permitted to gain further employment in disability supported accommodation.

The Herald Sun understands that a police check before his employment by the DHS had not identified any problems.

At a brief administrative hearing yesterday, prosecutors were given until March to finalise a brief of evidence against Mr Handasyde.

He has been bailed and will return to court in April.

Last month, state Ombudsman Deborah Glass announced an inquiry into how allegations of abuse in the disability sector have been reported and investigated.

Concerns have been raised about the inability of people with a disability to communicate evidence of abuse to police or disability workers.

Last year, hundreds of allegations of physical and sexual abuse of people with disabilities were reported.

A DHS spokeswoman said the department was devastated by the latest allegations.

"Abuse of a person with a disability is inexcusable and we are shocked and saddened by these disclosures," she said.

"The wellbeing of our clients comes first and we are working with police to support these clients and their families.

"The matter is now the subject of an investigation by Victoria Police, and the Court process," she said.

"All individuals who are directly affected have been contacted personally by the department and police," the spokeswoman said.

"However,  anyone  with concerns is also encouraged to contact the department or to get in touch with police.

LISA Comment:  Incidents of this nature, although very serious, are just the tip of the iceberg.  Equal concern should be given to the massive area which is hidden from public, and often consumer scrutiny by the department’s defences better than the green zone in Baghdad against providing service level and quality consistently within their extensive and comprehensive care policies, standards and values. 

All levels of department management are totally unable/unwilling to set, monitor and maintain staff work value expectations to ensure there is no disconnection between service intent and service delivery.  Good service is therefore totally dependent on staff integrity, not management direction.

Frequently, good staff are under peer pressure to maintain the status quo of providing little more than minder care for the residents.  This is despite all department managed group homesare intended to be active support compliant. 

It is frequently unclear if a department managed group home is the residents’ real home, a hostel, a rooming house or a staff workplace.

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Disability Round Table Victorian Ombudsman Investigation (Link)

The Victorian Ombudsman has announced an Investigation into disability abuse reporting. The closing date for submissions is 15 February 2015.

This Disability Round Table will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the investigation process and what will happen once submissions have been received.

Hear from representatives from the Victorian Ombudsman’s office and the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA), including:

·    Glenn Sullivan, Director Investigations, Victorian Ombudsman’s office and representatives from the Investigations team who will provide information  about the investigation, what you should include in your submission and how this will inform the scope and terms of reference for the broader investigation

·    Liz Dearn, Senior Policy and Research Officer, OPA who will tell us about the reports of abuse received by OPA through their Community Visitors program.


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