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The criminal system is one mistake away

Toby is known to the justice system – primarily for absconding and stealing a bike.  At 16 he was sentenced to juvenile detention for charges relating to ‘sexting’ inappropriate images on social media.

Toby is a 18-year-old man with autism and an intellectual disability, suspected Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy.

His biological family has a history of domestic and sexual abuse and as a result Toby has been in and out of the child protection system since he was 5 years old.

Like many people with a traumatic history, Toby is known to the justice system – primarily for absconding and stealing a bike.  At 16 he was sentenced to juvenile detention for charges relating to ‘sexting’ inappropriate images on social media. He was then transferred to an adult prison when he turned 18. Although Toby maintains his ‘girlfriend’ pressured him to take the offending images, he is now a registered sex offender.

After his release, Toby stayed with a distant relative, but this arrangement was short-lived as his relative did not want him there and made him feel unwelcome. He survived by ‘couch surfing’ until new regulations around COVID-19 and social distancing forced him to spend nights on the streets. Toby doesn’t understand COVID-19 and the social distancing requirements that have resulted from the pandemic.

Toby’s disability affects his impulse control and decision-making capability. He has no family support and as a result is vulnerable to victimisation, exploitation, negative peer pressure and being led to take part in antisocial conduct.

Toby is isolated and lonely, so he will seek out company and a place to stay wherever he can find it. He does not understand the risks associated with this, particularly in the context of a pandemic. Without stable accommodation and support, Toby is likely to stay with anyone, risking both his personal safety and the reporting conditions of his parole. His level of stress has escalated to the point he is presenting at SECCA with  suicidal ideation.

People like Toby are at very high risk of abuse, infection or reoffending.  The desire for connection and support makes them particularly vulnerable and the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these issues.

Solution

SECCA works with clients like Toby to understand social distancing, friendship and protective education. The SECCA App can provide invaluable support for this education as it is a visual tool that is easily understood by people with disabilities.

Seeking counselling?

The first step is to complete a Referral form.  Anyone can submit a Referral form on behalf of an individual seeking counselling. Please be aware we have a wait list due to high demand and the impact of COVID 19.

NDIS Funding

SECCA has worked hard to ensure that the introduction of the NDIS is as seamless as possible. For information on accessing SECCA’s services under NDIS funding please follow the link.

Through counselling in a one-on-one situation, Beth felt safe to learn about puberty and body changes.

Do you need emergency support?

The SECCA App can help you teach relationships and sexuality education.