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Sylvie stops abuse at her respite house

Most of the time, Sylvie lives at home with her mum, nanna and her little brother Luke. Sylvie is 13, and she has autism and an intellectual disability. So sometimes, she goes to stay in a respite house with other people who have disabilities. The staff who work in the respite house are supposed to look after Sylvie and keep her safe and happy while she is away from her family home.

Sometimes Sylvie has trouble communicating how she feels and want she wants. When Sylvie is bored she will follow staff members around the respite house. In her respite house, there was a staff member called Garry. Garry got angry and annoyed when Sylvie followed him around the house. He would yell at Sylvie to go away. But Sylvie did not understand what she was doing wrong, because the other people in the house didn’t get angry when she followed them.

A few times, Garry got so angry at Sylvie he would lock her in her room. Sometime, he didn’t let her out for hours. If she started yelling to be let out, he would ignore her and leave her longer. One time she was locked in the room for so long she wet her pants, because Garry wouldn’t let her out to go to the toilet. What Garry was doing to Sylvie was abuse. The law says abuse is very wrong.

Sylvie told her nanna about what was happening to her at the respite house. Sylvie’s nanna brought Sylvie to the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS). An advocate from YDAS asked Sylvie about what had been happening, and asked what Sylvie wanted. They decided they needed to make sure the abuse stopped.

Sylvie’s advocate wrote a letter to Garry’s boss about what was happening. Garry’s boss was very concerned. Garry’s boss told him what he was doing was not OK, and told Garry he could not work in that respite house again. Once Garry was gone, Sylvie was safe again and much happier in the respite house.

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