Fresh twist in case of disabled woman who was left to rot in her own excrement as its revealed two vulnerable women claim they were RAPED by carers
- Ann Marie Smith, 54, died on April 6 from septic shock and multiple organ failure
- She was being cared for under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- It’s alleged NDIS failed to investigate the sexual assault of two disabled women
- Also alleged, NDIS failed to investigate death of client from misuse of sedative
Two women with disabilities have claimed they were raped by carers after one woman was left rotting in the same chair for a year.
Ann Marie Smith 54, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died in the Royal Hospital, in Adelaide, South Australia, on April 6 from septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnourishment.
She lived alone in her Adelaide home and relied on carers for six hours a day every day since 2013 under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
It has now been claimed the NDIS watchdog failed to investigate the alleged rape of one intellectually disabled woman by ‘one or more’ carers and another woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a caseworker.
It’s also been claimed the commission did not investigate the death of a third client by an alleged maladministration of a sedative.
Ann-Marie Smith (pictured), 54, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died in the Royal Hospital on April 6 from septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnourishment
All three cases took place in South Australia within the last two years and were aired in Parliament by Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie on Thursday.
Whistleblowers within the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission raised the concerns with Ms Sharkie, who called for an independent inquiry into the organisation.
She also called for better training for staff and for every serious case of misconduct to be investigated.
‘(One) notification that languished in the list was the alleged rape of an intellectually disabled participant by one or more care workers,’ Ms Sharkie told parliament.
‘The incident was not referred to the investigations team because the front line reportable incident officer didn’t think the incident was serious enough to warrant immediate action. It was four months before the allegation got to the investigations team. Four months.’
Concerns were also raised that the NDIS watchdog is understaffed with as many as 600 open cases being dealt with on any day.
‘The delay in passing of cases to the investigations team is a common occurrence and less than one per cent of reportable incidents make it to investigations,’ Ms Sharkie said.
Police said Ms Smith had been spending her days and sleeping at night in the same woven cane chair in her Adelaide home (pictured) for more than a year
Ms Sharkie also said there was no unannounced visits to care providers.
‘I believe that the death of Ms Smith is just the tip of the iceberg and that many more cases of abuse and neglect are continuing unchecked,’ Ms Sharkie told The Australian.
Whistleblowers told the publication a quarter of NDIS investigators quit due to poor staffing and being overloaded with cases.
Some said the NDIS has a ‘culture of silence’ and the Commission ‘lives in fear of investigating anything’.
‘The investigators simply can’t keep up and the workload is getting even heavier because they have not even replaced people who have left,’ one whistleblower said.
Police have launched an investigation into Ms Smith’s appalling death and her carer, who now faces criminal charges has been sacked.
Police have launched an investigation into Ms Smith’s appalling death and her carer, who now faces criminal charges has been sacked
‘The matters referred to by Ms Sharkie are similar to matters that the NDIS Commission either has under active investigation, or has taken enforcement or compliance action on,’ an NDIS spokesperson said.
‘Some of the matters referred to by Ms Sharkie are criminal matters and should be investigated by the appropriate authorities.
‘All alleged criminal conduct matters that the NDIS Commission are made aware of are referred to the Police and other appropriate authorities as relevant. The NDIS Commission cannot undertake criminal investigations.’