Nurse reveals disturbing levels of trauma and neglect
A nurse has opened up about the disturbing levels of trauma and neglect frontline workers face daily in remote communities in the Northern Territory.
Warning: This story contains content that some readers may find disturbing.
Rachel Hale has spoken out about confronting incidents of child abuse she witnessed first-hand while working in the public health system in Alice Springs, as the territory and federal government grapple with how to deal with a crime wave plaguing the town.
Video recorded by Rachel Hale showed children taking out a bar patron. (Rachel Hale/provided)
“In my career, I’ve seen a four-year-old come in with anal warts. I’ve seen a girl as young as six with vaginal sores,” the nurse of 14 years told 9News.
“Last year there was a two-year-old who was raped.”
Hale moved to the NT seven years ago and flies to Alice Springs every eight weeks for work.
She claimed the abuse was just a fraction of the disturbing stories that often go unheard in the media but take place daily in Central Australia.
Crime is on the rise in Alice Springs, with residents reporting a surge in burglaries, vandalism and alcohol-related assaults.
The latest data released by NT Police showed alcohol-related assault rose by 55 per cent in the year to November, while domestic and common assault both increased by 43 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
Commercial burglaries are up 56 percent and reports of property damage are up nearly 60 percent.
Rachel Hale spoke about her experiences in the health system in Central Australia. (9 News)
Hale said crime and anti-social behavior was out of control, with a vision she posted on social media of what she could see from her hotel balcony at the weekend just a sample of what locals see on any given night.
Children run wild through the streets, punching and kicking stunned bar patrons and spitting on publicans.
“I have never felt so terrified in my life, I feared for my life that night,” she said.
But Hale said politicians are missing the key issues.
“The home life of these children is horrible,” she said.
“It’s much safer for these kids to be on the street than at home.”
Hale said she was “scared” during the violent outburst, which she recorded. (Rachel Hale/Supplied) The nurse said the home life of children involved in crime was often “horrendous”. (Rachel Hale/provided)
A report from the newly appointed Central Australia regional controller will be handed to the Commonwealth this week, outlining a plan going forward on alcohol restrictions.
But for locals on the ground, there is a much bigger issue at stake.
Mayor Matt Paterson earlier said “senseless and destructive behaviour” was an ongoing problem in Alice Springs as he called for intervention and better police resources.
“It’s got to get better. We need help. Like I said, people are leaving Alice Springs in droves,” Paterson said.
“If we don’t address this, there will be no Alice Springs left.”
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).