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Cognitive exam criticised as ‘culturally biased’ – Brain injury survivor lived beneath poverty line in NT


An Aboriginal woman recovering from a traumatic brain injury in the remote Northern Territory was forced to live beneath the poverty line while under financial guardianship, legal documents show.

Official figures show the number of Indigenous people under guardianship orders in the NT is growing, adding strain to an under-resourced system tasked with caring for the territory’s most vulnerable.

One leading psychologist said the use of “culturally biased” cognitive tests could be exacerbating the problem.

In 2016, a violent incident left Tracey with cognitive impairment.

The ABC has chosen not to publish Tracey’s surname or the name of her remote community.

While she received treatment in hospital, the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) appointed the NT’s Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee as her financial guardian due to her “impaired decision-making capacity”.

The plan was for Tracey’s aunt — who she calls mum — to take care of her personal affairs, while the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee managed Tracey’s money.

At just 23 years old, her life had changed.

Read the full article, including Dr Tracy Westerman’s response here on the ABC webiste.