Stories of horror and failure

by | Sep 27, 2023 | Ability News, Disability Community, Disability Sector, Facilities

4 Corners reports on disability in Australia today

Nurse Linda Karafili insists unscrupulous providers act like sharks feeding off people with disability.

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A special investigation into the National Disability Insurance Scheme has revealed distressing stories of the way the scheme has failed to live up to its initial hopes. 

The episode also showed  shocking video of a teenage boy with autism undergoing threapy one observer described as torture.   

The story began with a refrain that’s becoming increasingly common: ‘the NDIS was meant to transform the lives of people with disability’.

Instead, of course, Four Corners’ extensive investigation  exposed criminals, opportunists and registered providers  overcharging and defrauding the system and, far, far worse, horrific restrictive practices being paid for by taxpayers. The program portrayed a system that was spinning out-of-control, without effective supervision.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: This program contains graphic content that may disturb some viewers.

Watch the YouTube recording of the full 50 minute Four Corners program

Warning: This program contains graphic content that may disturb some viewers.

Video source: 4 Corners on YouTube

These particular revelations followed a three-month crowdsourced investigation. Hundreds of NDIS participants, families and workers contacted the ABC with their complaints about how the system had failed them personally. 

The most terrible vision came from one particular program that has now closed down. It showed video of a child with autism being unlawfully being pinned face to the ground and prevented from moving by a thuggery of adults. 

A staff member told the boy he was not allowed to move for five minutes. When, after three and a half minutes the child moved, four much larger staff tackled him and pinned him down face-first for close to seven minutes.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Video shows how one teenage boy with autism and a severe intellectual disability was treated (Courtesy ABC) 

Warning: This program contains graphic content that may disturb some viewers.

Video source: ABC News

The system used at Irabina Autism Services – where 18 children mostly aged from 10 to 14 took part in a ‘Severe Behaviour Program’ – was a contentious one that is still used in the US. 

Although this has now closed down it was not, however, because the NDIA had decided the organisation’s so-called ‘therapy’ had failed to comply with guidelines. 

Since the program originally went to air the ABC has been contacted by other people, including a speech pathologist who described Irabina as having ‘one of the worst’ facilities in which she’d ever worked. She claimed such practices were continuing as recently as last year. 

Irabina has separately provided a statement to the ABC (PDF)