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People with disabilities are being ‘trafficked’ for their NDIS funding, insiders say

ABC News

Posted 24/9/23, updated 25/9/23


Nurse Linda Karafili remembers getting the call from her client. He was “absolutely desperate”.

The man, who had a history of severe mental health issues, had been coerced to move from a boarding house with support services to a house in outer Melbourne, away from everyone he knew.

“He was … frightened of staying, but he was also frightened of leaving because, in his words, he was like, ‘I’m too old to be homeless. If I leave here … I have nowhere else to go.’ So he was really trapped.”

He’d been promised great food and caring support workers but instead, residents were sometimes left alone and told to defrost frozen sandwiches for their meals.

Linda had to help rescue him.

“When you trick someone to go somewhere and you get them there, and their feeling is that they actually cannot leave … to my mind, that’s abduction.”

This exploitation of people living with disabilities means hundreds are “missing” in the system. The NDIS regulator doesn’t know where they are or who’s looking after them, and authorities can’t monitor their welfare.

Four Corners’ three-month crowdsourced investigation into the NDIS heard from hundreds of participants, families and workers, many with concerns of overcharging and fraud.


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