The many more stories exactly like Ann-Marie Smith.

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Her neighbours hadn’t seen her outside, they said, for years. They didn’t knock on her door or check how she was.

Willow’s neighbours said the same. Some didn’t know a little girl lived there, others said that she hadn’t been seen outside for a fortnight.

The people who contacted the authorities, the people who didn’t. The police checks, the previous complaints. The oversight mechanisms and the community safeguards that should have worked, but didn’t. The failure of people to care.


I don’t have to look up the names any more to know who suffered the same fate, where the patterns fit together.

Kyla Puhle starved to death in a beanbag at home. She weighed 12 kilos when they found her. She was 27.

55 year old David Harris, whose decomposed body was found in his kitchen, mail piled at his door. The NDIS, which was supposed to be a lifeline, failed him badly.

‘Ebony’, aged…

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