State warns private group homes it will act over ‘abuse and neglect’

The state government is cracking down on privately run disability homes in Victoria, closing one after findings of bullying, coercion and abuse of residents and warning all facilities that the strongest possible action will be taken to tackle neglect.

Gracemanor in Melton South, which houses people with disability and mental illness, has been deregistered to protect the health of residents and its proprietor found not suitable to operate a supported residential service on conduct and character grounds.

The Victorian Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, said the introduction of the new regulator gave hope that the government was finally taking the problems in the sector seriously.

“There have been problems in the supported residential services sector since its inception due to the failure of successive governments to properly meet the needs of people with disabilities and mental health issues coming out of institutions in the ’70s and ’80s with nowhere else to go. These have not abated.”

Pearce said the most serious issues were not sector wide and the quality at the facilities varied significantly. “The action now taken against Gracemanor should be instructive to others who also need to make changes,” she said.

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