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Independent Report Clears Nzcare Of Allegations Of Inappropriate Training

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZCare has welcomed an independent report that has cleared the organisation of allegations that its intimate support training instructed staff to masturbate the people they support. The Ministry of Health commissioned the investigation after a small group of Nelson staff made these claims to the news media last October. NZCare group general manager Donna Mitchell said that the organisation was always completely confident that the accusations were untrue.

"We're very pleased with the findings of this independent report as we have always been sure that the training we provide is professional, high quality and completely sound. It is designed to ensure the privacy, dignity and respect of the people we support and to protect the professional boundaries of our staff." Intense media coverage of the issue had not been helpful and this was reflected in the independent report which said: "NZCare Management, the specialist trainer, staff, the people they care for and their families have all been adversely affected by the intense media interest in this story. NZCare staff and management have taken steps to reassure and protect people in their care and their families/whanau from the repercussions of the publicity." Ms Mitchell said the organisation would recommence intimate support training for its staff which had been suspended during the investigation. The findings of the report emphasised the need for the training: "Sexuality of intellectually impaired people is a sensitive and often unacknowledged issue. NZCare have suspended training in sexuality and intimate support pending investigation and other organisations appear reluctant to pick it up again. Training of this nature is still a requirement for people working in the difficult area of intimate support and it is important that this training continues to take place." NZCare is contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide disability support services to about 45 people in the Nelson region. Donna Mitchell said that she is proud of the excellent work that the 1000 NZCare staff do in supporting 500 disabled people to live ordinary lives in their communities throughout New Zealand. Ends

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