‘This Should Have Never Happened’: Qld Govt Apologises For Neglect Of Brothers W/ Autism

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains content that may be distressing to some readers.

The Disability Royal Commission has found that the Queensland Government should’ve done more to protect two boys with autism who were found living in terrible conditions after their father died. The Queensland Government has since apologised.

As per The Guardian, child safety minister Craig Crawford has apologised on the behalf of the Queensland Government and said he was “disgusted” after learning about the living conditions of two teenage brothers, as found by the Disability Royal Commission.

Crawford said at a media conference on Tuesday: “I want to sincerely apologise to Jonathon and Kaleb for what occurred to them over the 20 years.

“This should never have happened … We must do better, we can do better, and we will do better.”

On Tuesday, the Disability Royal Commission released a report detailing its findings of the two teens — who are named under pseudonyms Kaleb and Jonathan — as well as noting that the Queensland Government “could have, and should have” done more to protect the two from “violence, neglect, abuse and deprivation of their human rights”.

According to the report, the 17-year-old and 19-year-old were found locked in a bedroom unclothed and malnourished in May of 2020. Their father, who was their carer, was found deceased in the next room.

The two brothers were allegedly denied food and water. The report also mentioned that school staff arranged haircuts for the brothers as their hair had a lingering smell of urine.

As per The Guardian, between June 2000 and May 2020, there were at least 30 occasions where concerns about the livelihood of the brothers were raised with Queensland authorities. The publication also reported that 19 child protection notifications were given to the state’s Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services.

The report by the Disability Royal Commission continued to note a variety of recommendations for the Queensland Government, including better training for relevant frontline staff, giving people with disabilities a greater say in development, reviewing child protection practices and policies and expanding the Child Advocate scheme.

It also recommended that the “State of Queensland should consider offering redress, such as counselling or compensation to Kaleb and Jonathon, including additional support and assistance they may need.”

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will be handed to the federal government by September 29.