- Esther Foundation referred to Education and Health Standing Committee over allegations of mistreatment
- Inquiry will examine complaints from former residents, staff and volunteers
The McGowan Government has referred the Esther Foundation to the Education and Health Standing Committee for review, over allegations of abuse and mistreatment.
The Esther Foundation is a faith-based residential treatment facility for women and teenagers based in Perth.
The committee will examine complaints from former residents, staff and volunteers, as well as the steps taken by the organisation in response.
The inquiry will also examine the suitability of existing regulatory and legislative frameworks, and what changes may be required to address concerns of this nature.
This includes examining options for regulating facilities not covered by the definition of 'Health Service' or 'Hospital' in the Private Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927.
The committee will report back by December 1, 2022.
Comments attributed to Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk:
"Since I was made aware of these disturbing allegations and invited former residents of the Esther Foundation to contact me, a large number have taken up that offer and shared significant matters of concern, and I thank them for their courage.
"Today, I raised the issue in Parliament and referred the matter to the Education and Health Standing Committee for review.
"All people, especially children, have the right to feel safe and be treated with respect. I want to assure the women who shared their stories with me that the State Government is taking this matter seriously."
Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"It is the duty of all of us to protect those most vulnerable in our community and I welcome the inquiry into these concerning allegations.
"Importantly, the inquiry will also examine whether our existing legislation meets our contemporary needs and ensure we can safeguard West Australians properly into the future."
Minister's office - 6552 6600