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Disability Minister Says He's "Personally Ashamed" At Facility Abuses
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 19, 2004

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA--Warren Pitt, Queensland's Disability Services Minister, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday that he is ashamed of what a report reveals about abuse and torture at a facility that housed adults and children with intellectual disabilities.

"The Adult Guardians report revealed a number of issues of which I am personally ashamed," said Mr. Pitt. "I think any right-minded person would be ashamed to see people who are vulnerable put in those situations and dealt with in that way."

The Adult Guardians report, which was completed in February, has not yet been made public. It reportedly details abuse claims going back several years at Care Independent Living Association Inc at Bribie Island, which is now closed.

ABC reported that the paper tells of staff punishing residents by beating them with broomsticks or fly swatters; burning them with cigarettes; soaking them in ice-cold baths, or throwing buckets of cold water over them; publicly humiliating them; tying them to toilets and chairs; and giving them sedatives intended for other residents. Sleep, food, and water was withheld from some for behavior that may have been caused by their disabilities.

There are also claims of child sexual abuse and financial misdeeds.

In spite of the allegations, people continued to be referred to the facility as recently as the summer of 2003.

Parents of Peter Rowe, a former resident with Down syndrome, testified before a parliamentary committee in June of this year about the trauma he suffered while at the facility. Rowe told his parents that he was physically and sexually abused by two staff members in 2001.

"My son when he first came home said to me, 'Mum, is this ever going to happen to me again?,'" said Betty Rowe.

"I said, 'Well, I hope it's not.' But he was so traumatized that I could not say to him, 'I can't protect you yet, Peter; I can only hope I can protect you,'" she explained.

"So I said to him, 'But I'm going to spend the rest of my life for as long as it takes to make sure that you are safe and other people like you.'"

Related:
"Qld Report finds culture of abuse in homes for the intellectually disabled" (ABC)
"Abuse at Bribie Island" (Parliament of Australia -- June 2004)
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