Investigation into the management and protection of disability group home residents by the Department of Health and Human Services and Autism Plus

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Housing for people with disability Supported accommodation Assault and battery Crime prevention Residential care People with disability Sexual assault Crime Melbourne
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This report details what has been a long and complex investigation. It commenced on 17 June 2015 when the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) referred a matter to the Ombudsman pursuant to section 73 of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011. IBAC had determined the matter to be a ‘protected disclosure complaint’ under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.

The complaint alleged that Autism Plus failed to appropriately manage the behaviour of ‘Edward,’(*) a young man in a group home for persons with a disability (Smith Street), resulting in his sexually assaulting another resident, ‘Robert,’(*) in April 2015. In the six months preceding the alleged rape, Edward reportedly perpetrated a series of other sexual assaults against Robert and made threats of serious violence towards Robert and his family. This period of time was the focus of the investigation.

At the relevant time, Autism Plus was operating under a service agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Autism Plus is a for-profit provider of accommodation and day program services on a ‘fee for service basis’ for DHHS clients. During the investigation Autism Plus was the subject of media attention, including a Four Corners report into disability care.

*Please note - the names of the residents and the group home have been anonymised to protect the privacy of individuals.

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