Tenants abuse elderly woman

By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE Department of Housing has promised to help a 63-year-old tenant who claims to have been sexually harassed at one of its Gladstone facilities.

The elderly woman spoke to The Observer yesterday in tears, saying she had become a virtual recluse because she was paralysed by fear of her neighbours.

Her identity had to be protected because she feared retribution from neighbours, who she says are constantly having disputes which include physical violence.

"I was bending over watering the pot plants and one of my neighbours came up behind me and grabbed me by the hips,'' Miss X said.

"Then he gyrated his hips with his front against my backside and said you're hot baby.

"They're (the other tenants) druggos and alcoholics and there is constantly people fighting and yelling.

"The other day there was a man and a woman and there was loud disgusting language and slapping.''

Miss X said she had to call the ambulance on the weekend because the stress of her living environment gave her chest pains and severe anxiety.

"When I get upset I stress and my whole body gets inflamed,'' she said. "When they fight I get so frightened.

I cry and I want to scream but nothing comes out.

"I had to call the ambulance and I said to them is this the last post, am I going to die here?''

She then revealed she had resorted to taking sleeping tablets day and night in an attempt to sleep through the fearful times.

"I've been having to take them continually and sleep all night and day because it is so distressing,'' she said.

A spokesperson for Housing Minister Robert Schwarten said yesterday the department had offered other accommodation to Miss X in the past.

She said health, stress and location problems had made other options unviable in her eyes, but she was encouraged by further commitments to help.

"The Department of Housing has approved a transfer for the tenant (in the past),'' the spokesperson said.

"A number of options ? including seniors' accommodation ? have been offered.

The department will continue to work with the tenant to find an acceptable solution.

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