Stating that “Jolene” suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse from infancy and placements in more than 55 different homes is just scratching the surface of the pain the 28 year old endured over the course of her childhood.
Jolene had recently commenced legal action against the Department of Community and Family Services (DOCS) for failing to protect her while she was in care, but the pain was too much and she tragically took her own life before the case made it to court.
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Her lawyer Neisha Shepherd, has vowed to continue the court action in Jolene’s name on behalf of her estate. In a recent interview with the ABC, Ms Shepherd explained that Jolene’s experience was, “One of the worst cases I’ve ever come across in terms of inconsistency of placements, inconsistency with education, being continually exposed to abuse and trauma throughout her whole life.”
Not only does this case demonstrate the need for further change within the Foster care system, it also highlights the urgent need for care for Foster children when they become adults.
Ms Shepherd told the ABC that Jolene wanted her story told to help others in the same situation, “She always said to me, ‘Neisha, if anything ever happens to me, could you please make sure you tell my story? And could you please make sure my life mattered?
That’s why I’m telling her story. She needs to live on and her message needs to be heard. She wanted to contribute to a change in the system.”
RIP Jolene. If this article has raised any issues for you, please seek help via one the following counselling services:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Main image courtesy of Getty