James Pascoe turned 21 last week.
But instead of blowing out the candles on a cake, surrounded by family and friends, he spent the day shackled to a bed.
His mother Bronwyn Pascoe says that just two years ago the young Australian man, who has autism spectrum disorder, was well enough to happily walk around SeaWorld with his grandmother and aunt.
But two years ago — after his beloved nana passed away — James began to experience grief and loss issues, which his parents believe were triggered in part by the memory of losing his baby sister years prior.
The young man embarked on a spiral of disintegration involving self-harm and aggression, and his parents say they begged the Victorian government for funding to keep him at home, where they could give him the support and therapy he needs with the help of trained professionals.
But the Pascoes claim the government refused to fund James’ support needs properly, and that they were told by the state Department of Human Services that if their son became aggressive they would have to simply call the police, “who then have no alternative to admit to hospital”.