ROSEANNE FULTON UPDATE
The support model designed for Roseanne on her return to the NT in July 2014 has predictably failed. She has spent around half the time in prison, caught in the same repeating pattern of alcohol related minor assaults and property damage. Six weeks ago she had to be removed from the house leased to NT Health due to complaints by neighbours. Since then various ad-hoc accommodation options have been tried and failed. For all intents and purposes she is back in the riverbed, though presently on remand for property damage, sharing a cell with her sibling, who is also FASD affected.
Perhaps the saddest element is that for the first time, there were signs of a behavioural break through, due to the dedicated efforts of one support worker. This is the type of relationship-led pathway that would be significant in the context of ‘positive behaviour’ based methodology. In the absence of both an effective methodology and supported accommodation, this gain is unlikely to continue.
Roseanne has been pleading with those who support her crying that she has been trying to live right way’ (which she has been doing, though in the misconceived belief this would gain her a new place to live.) The small child in this adult body simply seeks inclusion and acceptance. Interestingly, the past 20 months has revealed the extent of her distorted view of normality as conditioned by a life of abuse and neglect. She has shown the extent of her early conditioning in her almost robotic quest to find a male to call husband and her fixed belief all relationships are based around alcohol consumption. For the first time she has been gaining glimpses of other ways of living.
However, her prospects of finding another life-style are bleak. NT Executive Health staff appear to have ‘gone to ground’, leaving disability staff and guardians to come up with solutions, including a place to live which she must pay for. But there are no housing prospects short of purchasing a property. The ADJC believe that given Health’s severe budgetary stress, the limited remaining support will be incrementally withdrawn, the only hesitancy being to see if there is any media reaction. This also sits in the context of indications of an intent to close or limit the use of the secure care facility in favour of the Darwin mega-prison, plus a new adult Guardianship Bill, which if left unchanged will limit future advocacy around this need.
At an NT level, there is simply no point of engagement at decision making levels within Health, all that exists is a continuum of reactionary responses as determined by a burearacracy bureaucracy. The only remaining possibility is the remote chance of Commonwealth involvement. Nigel Scullion, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, has been actively trying to prompt some NT action and attempted to resource funds for FASD support training. Request for assistance have been forwarded to the Prime Minister and other interested parliamentarians such as Senator Rachel Siewert and Ms Jenny Macklin. With Roseanne’s consent we will continue to explore what media and other interest can be enlisted to gain the Commonwealth’s notice. Otherwise, her prospects are dire. Like the rest of her FASD generation, she may be left to face the inevitable consequences of being born ‘black’ and brain damaged.
Many thanks for your ongoing interest in this case, I look forward to the time when I can bring some more positive news.
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