Youth Camp Accused Of Allowing Assaults
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 13, 2004
MUDJIMBA, AUSTRALIA--Concerns are being raised this week over the lack of supervision provided to children with disabilities attending a youth camp in Mudjimba.
According to Sunday's Sunshine Coast Daily a woman claimed that her 7-year-old granddaughter was bullied and physically assaulted by other children at Apex Youth Camp. The woman said a group of 8 and 9-year-olds forced the girl, who has autism, to strip and show her genitals and drink from a bottle filled with another girl's urine. Then they beat her on the buttocks. On two other occasions, children allegedly tied the girl's hands and held her under the water in a pool.
The Maroochydore Juvenile Aid Bureau confirmed Monday that it is investigating the grandmother's complaint.
On Tuesday, the paper reported the allegations of another woman, Karen Palmer, who removed her daughter from the vacation camp. Palmer said that one time in September she arrived to pick up her daughter, who has autism and ADHD, to find her wandering nude with no supervision. Another time she found her daughter alone, eating day-old sandwiches off the ground.
Palmer had been assured that program staff were qualified to deal with children that have disabilities.
''The carers were looking after other kids or mucking around among themselves and not worrying about where she was," said Mrs. Palmer. "They are very young, very immature. They're only kids themselves, half of them, and they wouldn't know what they're doing."
Palmer said she does not know what else might have happened to her daughter, but she will not be taking the girl back to the camp.