‘We were supposed to be protected’: Florence was allegedly raped in a mental health ward – and she’s not alone – ABC News
Parents of a teenage girl are considering taking legal action after their then 13-year-old daughter was allegedly raped by a male patient at Perth Children’s Hospital while being treated in its mental health ward last year.
“The night of the incident is still so crystal clear to me which is a blessing and a curse. What unfolded that night is something I’d never forget,” she told the ABC.
Florence (not her real name) wants her story told to stop this from happening to someone else.
Warning: This story contains details of sexual assault
Through Freedom of Information applications and scouring publicly available data, ABC Investigations has established more than 1,500 people have reported alleged sexual assaults and harassment in mental health wards over the past six years in Australia.
However, the full extent of the problem is unclear, as there is no nationally consistent definition of such incidents and one state health department did not provide data, while others only provided data for a shorter period of time.
In interviews, dozens of victims have described sexual assaults, while staff and lawyers across the country have painted a picture of a broken health system that is failing to keep young and vulnerable psychiatric patients safe from harm.
Because privacy laws relating to patient information restrict the media from accessing information held in hospitals, we need victim-survivors and whistleblowers to come forward and tell us how and where the system is failing.
The ABC is launching a national crowdsourced investigation into mental health units and is asking people to share their experiences.
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