Disabled residents abused daily: inquiry

Members of disability activist group the Bolshy Divas give evidence

A Senate inquiry in Perth has heard people with disabilities are severely abused in institutions. Source: AAP

PEOPLE with disabilities are raped, neglected and assaulted in care institutions every day, a Senate inquiry has heard.

DISABILITY activist group the Bolshy Divas told a public hearing in Perth on Friday of 40 examples where people in Australian institutions like care centres or share homes had been abused.

Among the cases was 58-year-old Peta Doig who was sexually abused by other patients at Perth’s psychiatric hospital Graylands until she could no longer be physically examined. On Christmas Day 2012, Ms Doig started screaming. Hospital staff treated her with sedatives and antibiotics, which were not effective. She stopped screaming – and breathing – 10 days later and had her life support turned off with the permission of the Public Advocate. The Divas also spoke about a 47-year-old woman with a psychosocial disability at Joondalup Health Campus, north of Perth, who was allegedly repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted by nurse Timothy Buckby in 2012. Mr Buckby was this year banned from practicing for seven years by the State Administrative Tribunal but has not faced criminal charges, the inquiry heard. Divas’ Sam Connor said institutions were the perfect breeding ground for abuse because it was easy for a person’s power to be taken away. She said residents could not complain because they feared retribution from carers or because they did not have the intellectual capacity to do so. The inquiry continues.