The mother of a girl who was left severely brain-damaged from an electric shock at state-owned housing in Perth has welcomed a public safety campaign but questions why it took the government almost two years to act.
Denishar Woods, then aged 11, was shocked with up to 230 volts when she touched a garden tap at her family’s Beldon property in March 2018.
The incident left her wheelchair-bound, effectively blind and unable to do anything for herself.
An investigation last year concluded a conductor on a cable supplying electricity to the property had failed after prolonged heating.
But the investigation failed to establish what had caused the overheating and which government agency was ultimately responsible.
The state Building and Energy department, along with network operators Western Power and Horizon Power, on Monday launched a three-month public safety campaign urging West Australians to immediately report any shocks or tingles.
Denishar’s mother Lacey Harrison says it’s hurtful that it took authorities so long after the incident to launch the campaign.
“If it can help another family then I’m all for it but it’s a little too late,” Ms Harrison told AAP.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to change for us. That’s the trauma we’re left with.”
Ms Harrison, who also has two sons aged eight and 10, confirmed the family had accepted the offer of a $1 million act-of-grace payment.
The WA government offered the staggered ex-gratia payment last year, saying it would be held on trust by the Public Trustee and deducted from damages awarded in any civil claim.
Ms Harrison said Denishar, who is unable to speak but communicates “yes” by blinking once, is looking forward to going back to school this year.
Much of their focus will be on physiotherapy and improving the now-13-year-old’s motor skills with the hope she might eventually be able to stand upright in a frame.
The family has also moved into a new house built by the state government and designed to cater for Denishar’s needs.
“Denishar likes it. She’s always smiling, she’s still a happy girl,” Ms Harrison said.
“Ultimately Denishar’s still in there, 100 per cent. Unfortunately she’s so locked inside of her own body.
“But with my fight I will make sure that I can give her the best this year and hopefully give her some kind of movement back.”