Was there an attempt to shift the blame? It is understandable that any organisation would want to protect its name. However, the concerted effort at placing blame on the victim for his own death doesn’t do much for an organisation set up to be sympathetic towards others. Perhaps the following information may shed some light on what is more important to the organisation.
At a meeting with the CEO to discuss the development of their web site that I was hired to assist with, I witnessed her need to promote the organisation to other similar establishments rather than to those genuinely in need of the services. I had questioned the industry specific language used in the website content and asked whom the target audience was as I didn’t think that the terms used would be easily understood by those seeking mental health assistance. I was absolutely dumbfounded when I was told that it was to broadcast (read … “blow our trumpet”) the success of On Track Community Programs to other organisations in the industry. The mental health client audience was secondary and this was signalled with the gesture of an open hand facing and pushing away.
On a separate occasion, whilst sitting in with the management team, a member declared in a conversation with me : “Thank God I don’t work with those people”. An upturned nose made on the word “those” and in reference to the mental health clients of the organisation. I was shocked to here this remark as I was a virtual outsider to the organisation and the comment was openly made to me. I am unsure if my gaping jaw was obvious. I related this incident to a colleague of Michael’s and she related a similar incident but involving the CEO whilst standing together and in conversation at the main Lismore office. A dishevelled man walked past on the footpath outside the building and the CEO with pursed lips and a look of disgust asked “Who is that?”. To which the staff member replied “He’s one of our clients”. It was not the question so much as the contempt in the CEO’s voice that shocked the staff member.
The organisation was set up to show compassion to and help the less fortunate. However, the actions (or reactions) of the senior management toward the mental health clients appear to belie this. It would hence not be a stretch of the imagination to see that if compassion for those in need appear to be absent, then attempting to shift the blame for Michael’s murder onto himself can only be what I’d assume to be normal behaviour of some within the organisation. I hope I am wrong, but what does one make of the knowledge gathered?