Ready to Scream
Well anonymous, your blog made some interesting reading. I am glad that you have made the decision to get out. I suspect that you will feel more comfortable with that as time goes by. I understand that there are some people who go into that area of public service with the best of intention but I also suspect that a great many don’t. Let me explain.
A number of years back, I took a degree in Social Science (one of three degrees that I currently hold, along with various other diploma’s and certificates). Part of that degree involved the counselling and psych elements. On the first night, the lecturer ask each one of us why we were doing the course. Of the 70 odd people in my cohort, only two or three said that they were doing it for reasons other than to resolve some past issue in their lives. My reason was that I had to do counselling in-order to get my degree. When I said that I did not want to get into counselling, I said that I did not need other people’s problems, as I had enough of my own thank-you very much. That comment caused a number of raised eyebrows!
I suspect that the same thing applies in DOCS. Too many are using DOCS and it’s process to resolve their own personal past issues whilst others, as you point out, become power and control freaks.
In my view, problem with DOCS is compounded by three major things. Firstly the environment. Working with kids is never easy, (I am a teacher). Working in a highly charged and atmosphere with claims and counter claims and conflicting interests never is. Secondly, the act (1999) is sufficiently vague, (using words like reasonable, and honest – the question is, who decides what is reasonable or who is honest). Couple this with little or no personal accountability and transparency (at least in the eyes of the public) and it it a train wreck waiting to happen. Thirdly, CS reps seem to come across as advocates rather than investigators. Immediately their neutrality is compromised, along with their credibility.
I have just been down to the Strathpine office. Apparently I have a son who has been inappropriately touching my intellectually impaired daughter (somebody has picked up on something). The interview with my daughter we not done by anybody who seemed trained in dealing with her disability – they asked leading questions, poorly phrased – and my daughters understanding is very limited. In-fact, if she doesn’t understand, she will often give you the answer that she thinks you want. Very dangerous in this situation. When I pointed this out, the comment from the lady was that you have to “believe” the comment (That heard that approach before in my counselling course). When I questioned that, I was told that I disbelieved my daughter over my son. She could not get the fact that I was not questioning my daughter, but I was questioning their process and understanding of what she is supposed to have said. As for my son, he is the most conservative level headed kid I know. His first response when he heard the allegation was, “lets go down to the department and we’ll sought it out”. He was sure that he had nothing to hide.
So far, we have had the usual threats, my daughter was nearly taken away, and my son has had to move out of home (he thought that my daughter would be hurt psychologically if she was taken away from her familiar surroundings). This saga is on going.
My point is this. If a worker sees things going on in their place of employment, then they MUST TAKE ACTION if things are to change. It may come at a personal and financial cost, and may cost your home, (I know - it happen to me about twenty years ago, and we will never own our own home again, but at least I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing). To coin a phrase, fear is not an option, as fear is what supports the system and it’s leaches. Those who choose to go along with the system need to be held individually, corporately, personally and financially accountable for their actions.
If the judicial system does not provide a remedy, then perhaps we need to look at the court of public opinion, by naming and shaming these characters though the internet, similar to the sites which expose sexual predators in the USA – which is what I intend to do – hey, maybe I’ve found a new calling in life.
As for you, you are out, and perhaps you can now sleep at night