Nurse ‘made foster children sleep in a kennel and eat from a dog’s bowl’

A nurse has been accused of making her foster children eat from a dog’s bowl and sleep in a dog kennel.

She also allegedly beat the girl and the disabled boy if they tried to leave their bedrooms in Victoria, Australia.

The nurse, who has not been named, is accused of physically and psychologically abusing them.

A tribunal heard she repeatedly threatened the girl, “I will break you”, hit her with a metal spatula and made her sleep in the kennel.

The boy, who had a mild disability and cerebral palsy, was allegedly forced to eat dinner from a dog’s bowl before being kicked on the bum.

He was also kicked on the shins, back and bottom without warning, it is claimed.

The nurse is said to have used alarms to confine the kids in their rooms, made them use buckets instead of a toilet and didn’t give them enough food.

The girl was aged six and the boy seven when they entered her care for four years in 2004, reports.

After the child abuse allegations were reported to police last year, four charges were filed against her including false imprisonment and common law assault.

The nurse denies assaulting the youngsters and intends to contest the charges.

She was suspended in March by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, with the decision recently upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The tribunal heard teachers saw the children steal food from other pupils’ bags.

The alleged victims claim it had long term effects on them, with the boy saying it had a “profound impact on him”.

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He is said to suffer from substance abuse issues while the girl has post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.

The tribunal heard the nurse accepts she was unable to care for them adequately, especially because of her husband's death and her grief, according to reports.

But she claimed her suspension was disproportionate given the alleged offending happened up to 16 years ago.

She argued she is entitled to the presumption of innocence, her nursing record is unblemished, and waiting for the criminal process to happen would be “unduly detrimental” due to recent delays.

But the tribunal ruled letting her continue in her role while facing the allegations “would cause a loss of confidence” in the nursing profession.

In their ruling, the panel said: “Providing care for people when they are at their most vulnerable is fundamental to nursing.

“The conduct alleged, if proved, would rightly provoke outrage due to the way in which vulnerable children were treated.”

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