Georgi Hadden is finally having her claims of abuse and neglect taken seriously, with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) watchdog, the Quality and Safeguards Commission, set to reinvestigate how she become malnourished, underweight, suicidal and covered in bruises while in the care of a disability service provider.
A three person taskforce was established following an Inq investigation into Hadden’s claims, she said.
“I’m relieved,” Hadden told Inq. “They said they’re going to listen to my whole story.”
Hadden, who is autistic and has an acquired brain injury along with several other disorders, lodged a complaint with the commission in August 2018, though it was ultimately resolved with no action taken.
Across six months living in accommodation provided by disability service provider Achieve Australia in Sydney’s north, Hadden said she was given limited staff time and assistance, causing her condition to deteriorate.
Hadden said she was told by staff she was found without her pants after a suicide attempt. She was covered in bruises. Her complaint was dismissed because Hadden didn’t want to speak to Achieve’s management team, and had left the provider’s care.
Hadden has also lodged a complaint about a second disability service provider — the treatment there, she said, is in some ways worse. She said she’ll get to speak to the taskforce about both providers.
“This isn’t just about me. I can tell them about all the other things I’ve seen, and get them to listen,” she said.
Many of the other residents at the accommodation have high support needs and cannot speak.
“Maybe we’ll see some accountability and change,” she said.
A spokesperson for the commission told Inq the investigation had raised serious issues, though disputes the claim the commission routinely dismisses allegations of abuse and neglect. They would not comment on Hadden’s complaint.
A spokeswoman for Achieve Australia told Inq the safety and wellbeing of clients was of paramount importance.
“Achieve Australia is committed to a zero-tolerance approach to the abuse and neglect of people with disability,” she said.
“We are prepared to cooperate fully with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission on any further investigation.”
Non-management staff were not interviewed as part of the commission’s initial investigation, though Achieve provided written statements from staff.