Mental health worker had abusive sex with young client

The Queensland Mental Health Commission will host consultation forums on the Strategic Plan at Ipswich Civic Centre.
The Queensland Mental Health Commission will host consultation forums on the Strategic Plan at Ipswich Civic Centre. John Gass

A BYRON Bay mental health worker who started a violent sexual relationship with a young client has been barred from working in the health sector for five years.

Married father of four Andreas Kirbach, 51, became the girl's counsellor shortly after her 17th birthday in 2011.

While she was still under his care, the two became involved in a sexual relationship that lasted until June 2014.

It was marked by emotional manipulation, control and escalating verbal abuse and threats from Kirbach.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard Kirbach threatened to kill the girl if she told anyone about the relationship.

In May last year, he punched and tried to push her out of a moving vehicle because she refused to get out of his car.

The tribunal also heard Kirbach threatened to kill himself and the girl, suggested she commit suicide and encouraged her to use alcohol and marijuana despite knowing she was on prescription medication.

He was sentenced in February to a years jail for assault, stalking and two breaches of an apprehended violence order.

The sentence was reduced on appeal to eight months and immediately suspended with a good behaviour bond.

Kirbach applied to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have details of the Health Care Complaints Commission's reasons for dismissing him removed from its website because of the damage it would cause his family.

He told the court he was struggling to find a job and was remorseful for his actions and would never reoffend.

Tribunal senior member Geoffrey Walker made some amendments, but suggested Kirbach could not complain "the statement was in any general sense unduly weighted against him".

It did not include particulars about his actions, such as "encouraging her self-harming behaviours and participating in ritual acts of self-cutting with her" or the fact he lied to investigators, Mr Walker said.

"If the commission had supplied a list of such particulars, as it was entitled to do, the public statement would have been much more damning from the applicant's point of view than the one that was actually issued," he said.

Kirbach will be eligible to provide health services again in June 2020.


Topics:  abuse byron bay counsellor courts editors picks mental health northern nsw local health district

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