“Charity sorry over misleading services”

This story by Jo Skinner originally appeared on ABC News and can be viewed here.

A Christian-based charity on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has admitted it is guilty of false, misleading and deceptive conduct.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says Mercy Ministries has apologised for misrepresenting its services and repaid almost $120,000 to affected women.

The charity ran two homes for young women in need at Glenview on the Sunshine Coast and in Sydney, both have since closed.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel says Mercy Ministries advertised its services were free but then asked residents to sign over their Centrelink payments in return.

“We found that misrepresentations were occurring,” he said.

“Firstly as to whether or not the services provided by Mercy Ministries was free when clearly it was not,” he said.

“There was an assignment of Centrelink payments to Mercy Ministries for the duration of the stay of those that used their services.

“Also Mercy Ministries misrepresented that it offered professional support from qualified specialists when in fact that was not the case.”

Written By Mercy Survivors

Support for survivors of Mercy Ministries

7 Comments on ““Charity sorry over misleading services”

  1. anonymous

    December 22, 2009 at 2:55

    What really angers me is that the home was purchased most probably by the founders of the Australian homes Mark and Darlenewho are included in the seven people finally admitting to lying and doing wrong. Do they get the money from the sale of the land/home??? I think it should go to the girls. I am furious that they only get $1,050 when a lot of the girls were in Mercy Ministries between 6 and 12 months. They lost between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the length of time there!

  2. anonymous

    December 22, 2009 at 3:05

    I found the Sydney home and it’s selling for $2,200,000, should go to the girls…
    The link… http://realestate.hillsnews.com.au/overview/994682/139-glenhaven-road-glenhaven-2156/

  3. genevieve

    January 5, 2010 at 4:39

    yeah i agree i was there for over 14 months in 2005 I dont care about my lost centrelink money but the emotional damage they caused me deserves alot more money than $1050!i went there looking for help and left the program way more screwed up than when i went in!and all my friends that were there with me will understand love you girls! love you Naomi!

  4. Hayley

    January 18, 2010 at 5:50

    I was in MM for close to 2 years, I was even sent home for a period of 6 months as I became to physically ill to be an active participant in the program, though was still expected to do phone councilling and tape series whilst away and also while in hospital.
    I think Naomi and the other girls who went on TV are very brave. I however still believed that maybe if the staff saw me achieving post mercy I may be eventually considered good enough in their eyes.
    Has any Mercy girl recieved a payout and no it is not enough for the lives they distroyed!!!
    I know I have regained contact on Facebook with a few of the girls I “served time with”, any others out there I hope you are all healing over time xxx

  5. Judy

    February 2, 2010 at 7:15

    Hi I was also in MM and while admitting that the claims are true I am also very grateful for Mercy and I found it very beneficial in my healing process. I am sorry for those who did not and I pray that you will receive the support and care that you so rightly deserve.

  6. ladyluck

    June 18, 2011 at 1:23

    i was the first girl to go into MM UK, i was in there for a total of 9 months. it was a nightmare one that took me 2 years to get MYSELF over after i came out. They took my JSA money of me each week even though they kept all the letters from me so i wasnt actually aware was recieving this money, hence i never had any spending money whilst i wa inn there. they kept all my mail from me, opened it without my coset to check who it was from. they performed excorcists on me, well they tried too, im not that easily brainwashed luckily. they never graduated me as they thought i was not ready and kicked me out with no where to live so i ended up living in accomodation on my own in quite a dangerous aea of bradford that i could not afford kos i didnt have a job.

  7. ladyluck

    June 18, 2011 at 1:32

    Even though i am the only girl in the uk to have reported a bad experience, i think that its so wrong to say that someone is qualified to council a vulneable youn girl just kos theyve gone through the bible academy at the local church. I found out that my councellor was only halfway through her councelling diploma. i know that now theyve changed the whole way mm uk is run now but that doesnt change the fact that for years they ruined my life, i went in for help and seriously came out much worse of than when i went in. they left me on my own in a terrible way just because i could not be brainwashed. i hope eventually these homes do et shut down, doubt ill ever get compensation as i was, as far as i know, the only mistreated girl in the uk, and i do often wonder why,but i am a very strong willed character, so maybe they knew they wouldnt break me, who knows, but they were definitely NOT qalified or prepared to do the work they promised so prefoundly to do.

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