Another NDIS sex scandal

by | Mar 1, 2024 | The Big Story, Wire

NDIS funds used for illegal hotel sex with underage girl, sparking new calls to remove 'sex therapy'.

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The case of a man diagnosed with autism using NDIS funds to pay for sex with an underage girl has sparked renewed demands for sex therapy to be removed from the scheme. 

The man, with “severe deficiencies”, says he genuinely believed a 15-year-old girl was at least two years older when he took her to his hotel room. The liaison had been facilitated by a support worker during an NDIS-funded stay in South Australia. 

Spending on sex services has been permitted since 2020, when the Federal Court ruled unanimously the NDIS Act “does not expressly exclude such activities from being funded supports”. 

In its ruling the Court said that not only was funding for such services permitted, “in our opinion the better view is they are intended to be included.” 

However such services remain controversial lightning rods allowing popular media outlets to readily whip up prejudice against the scheme. In November 2022, Bill Shorten promised on Sky News he would establish a review to ensure sex was ‘reasonable and necessary’. 

The NDIS Minister agreed he was “not sure” taxpayers would approve of the disability scheme financing sex work after it was revealed a woman was using funds to pay for a male prostitute. 

At the time he said he doubted such spending would pass public scrutiny, before adding it was just not true that people with disability are getting all sorts of benefits they are not entitled to. 

Commercial sex continues to be funded by the scheme, however as cost of living pressures bite there are growing concerns over blow-out costs. 

This new case is refocusing attention on the basic issue as disability advocates are calling for the introduction of ‘vital checks and balances’ within the NDIS.