Trigger warning: This article deals with abuse and may be triggering for some readers.
Victoria’s Government and Opposition have both pledged to hold an inquiry into the state’s disability sector, amid allegations one of Australia’s biggest disability providers failed to act on warnings about carers who went on to sexually assault vulnerable clients.
The pledge comes ahead of tonight’s Four Corners program In Our Care – a joint ABC/Fairfax investigation – and days out from the Victorian state election.
The program exposes multiple cases involving sexual assault, harassment and other improper behaviour, along with evidence carers kept working despite warnings they were assaulting clients.
Disability workers, carers and experts have called for a wider national inquiry into what they say is an epidemic of sexual abuse within the sector. The ABC understands disability service provider Yooralla’s chief executive has now resigned.
Victim Jules Anderson said she has lost faith in Yooralla after learning there were warning signs for years about the carer who eventually attacked her in her group home.
Casual Yooralla worker Vinod Johnny Kumar, 31, was last year jailed for 18 years for raping four profoundly disabled people in his care, including Ms Anderson.
“I call him the monster. Why? Because that’s what he is,” Ms Anderson told Four Corners.
“That’s what he is and will always be and he’s taken something from me as a person that I’ll never get back.
“Now that I’ve found out that they [Yooralla] have known for a long, long time about the monster and other people like him, it’s just time for me to speak out.”
Former Yooralla house manager Jacinta Powell said that she banned Kumar from working in two houses in 2011 – a year before he assaulted Jules and others.
“He wasn’t working as a team member, he wanted to work individually,” Ms Powell said.
“He was disregarding any safety that we were putting into place and was making up his own procedures and policies and following what he wanted to do, not what the organisation and what the clients needed.”