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Landry and Braelynn

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.

Landry lost his mobility and capacity to speak after a medical event about 20 years ago. He is in his early 60s now, living in disability supported accommodation managed by a community healthcare provider.

Landry’s sister Braelynn is his legal guardian. She had to fight to secure the role after it was initially taken up by the public guardian.

When Landry left the hospital, the public guardian organised for him to enter an aged care facility. Braelynn told the Royal Commission that in the nearly 10 years Landry was there, no-one from the public guardian visited him.

Without any oversight, Landry’s treatment and care were neglected and his physical issues greatly exacerbated.

‘They never checked on his existence. When I applied for guardianship, they didn’t have a piece of paper in a file on him … He would have been a lot easier to manage if they hadn’t had that time to allow all of those things to happen to him that caused him so much harm permanently.’

When Braelynn became Landry’s guardian, she organised his move to his current residence. He has had a ‘plethora of injuries’ since he moved there and she has many concerns about the care he is receiving.

Braelynn believes support workers take advantage of communication issues to ignore him and mismanage his care. Neither the service provider or individual staff members are held accountable for failures in his care.

Braelynn reported issues to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This triggered the involvement of a community visitor, which resulted in time-consuming and onerous demands for documentation. She has not had any positive outcome in response to her complaints.

‘Anything the community visitor writes, it gets sent to the service, and then the service has the ability to respond to those complaints. That’s why they do it. But really, in effect, they’re telling the service everything you said about them … And so there was no protection for [Landry]. And then, what that did was it made it so I felt like I couldn’t say anything, because that just fed the staff with their bullying about me,’ she told the Royal Commission.

‘And that’s how this situation has built up, is now these carers – who have no training, no supervision, completely unaccountable – are sitting outside smoking most of the day. And they resent you saying to them, “Can you give him breakfast?” And that’s the point that I’m raising with that bullying, is there doesn’t seem to me to be anything that anybody can do.’

Braelynn is reluctant to move Landry because of his anxiety.

‘For him to go somewhere else … would be so self-defeating. It would be stressful for him to be somewhere else. And … the system is the way it is – there’s no guarantee it’s not going to be the same somewhere else.’

Braelynn says she doesn’t have ‘a lot of faith and trust in the system’.

‘[Support workers], they think I’m horrible because I’m the only person they’re accountable to. I’m the only person that’s doing any supervision of any kind over them.’

At a human level, she wishes for more understanding.

‘They seem to forget that this guy that I’m asking them to change the pad on or give oats to is my big brother. He taught me how to swim, taught me how to write. He protected me all my life as his little sister. I know everything about him. I know what he likes, what he doesn’t like. And you know … sometimes I just drop to my knees, and I weep at how hard it is to get people to just do simple things that they’re paid to do.’

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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.