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Content Warning: These stories are about violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and may include references to suicide or self-harming behaviours. They may contain graphic descriptions and strong language and may be distressing. Some narratives may be about First Nations people who have passed away. If you need support, please see Contact & support.

‘I’m going through the motions of living my life. I’m just going through the motions.’

About five years ago Kelli, late 30s, had an accident and acquired a brain injury.

The public guardian began managing her affairs and moved her to a group home.

Kelli didn’t get a choice about the people she lived with or where she lived.

‘There just wasn’t consultation. It was really – there’s a vacancy here, go there. You know? From hospital straight to wherever there was a vacancy.’

Kelli hated the group home.

Staff members called her fat and one of the other female residents bullied and physically assaulted her.

At the time, Kelli’s two kids were living with their dad. Once every two weeks they came and saw her for a few hours and had dinner.

Kelli wanted her kids to be able to stay overnight but the group home wasn’t a nice place for them to stay.

Kelli moved to a different home, but again had no say about where she lived. Her children still couldn’t stay.

Kelli was the only female resident and had no privacy. She often woke in the middle of the night and found a male resident standing over her. It was ‘creepy’ and wasn’t safe.

‘I would not choose to live with these people if I had a choice.’

About a year ago the children’s father died and Kelli became more desperate to have them live with her.

She agreed to ‘a short-term solution to be closer to [her] children’.

She moved to a new two-bedroom unit that shares a common area with other residents. It is a long way from the shops but the kids can catch a bus.

At the moment she is the only resident and management have told her she will have a say about who lives with her. She only wants to live with another woman.

Kelli has been on the waitlist for public housing for a couple of years. She really wants her own home so her children can live with her.

Kelli has put as many location preferences down as possible to maximise her chances of getting a house, but ‘there’s just nothing’.

She regularly contacts her local member of parliament and the premier. ‘I email them every day.’ But she’s ‘fobbed off’.

Kelli believes the housing department is discriminating against her because they think a group home is ‘the best place for her’. They are not prioritising her because she already has a roof over her head.

Kelli would like to return to work, but says no-one is helping her do this.

Before she had her accident, and was working, people treated her with respect. Now she feels she’s treated like ‘a piece of shit’.

‘I no longer have a guardian because I do have capacity to make my own decisions. I want to live in my own place.’

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Disclaimer: This is the story of a person who shared their personal experience with the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability through a submission or private session. The names in this story are pseudonyms. The person who shared this experience was not a witness and their account is not evidence. They did not take an oath or affirmation before providing the story. Nothing in this story constitutes a finding of the Royal Commission. Any views expressed are those of the person who shared their experience, not of the Royal Commission.