'Your light is so bright': Mental health worker killed helping patient
A man has appeared in court charged with murdering a mental health worker who was allegedly stabbed while visiting a patient at a home in Perth.
Jacqueline Lynn Francis, 50, was allegedly killed by Shannon Scott Westerman Smith, 37, during an outpatient home visit on Saturday.
Police allege when Ms Francis was stabbed in the neck when she went inside the home.
She was alone and did not have a duress alarm.
Ms Francis drove to the nearby Dome cafe in Rockingham for help and was rushed to Fiona Stanley Hospital but could not be saved.
Mr Smith appeared in Rockingham Magistrates Court today charged with murdering the mother-of-three and was remanded in custody to appear in Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court later this month.
Ms Francis’ family issued an emotional statement about her.
"There are no words to describe the pain of knowing you are no longer with us. Your light always shined so bright. You always had a smile on your face and lived life to the fullest,” the statement said.
WA mental health minister Roger Cook said the South Metropolitan Health Service policy stipulated two people must conduct home visits for mental health clients, but other service providers might have different protocols.
"We have very clear protocols in relation to home visits in these situations," Mr Cook said.
"It requires a couple of staff to be there at all times, it requires the logging of the address to make sure that we understand if there's been any issues associated with that particular address."
Mr Cook insisted budget cuts had nothing to do with Ms Francis' death.
"This is a horrible set of circumstances and it is one that is almost impossible to fathom or even come to grips to understand, but we are continuing to support everyone in the situation," he said.
Ms Francis was a community rehabilitation support worker at Neami National, which is contracted by the state government.
Neami National chief executive Arthur Papakotsias expressed condolences to her family and said the organisation was offering counselling to its Rockingham team.
Health Services Union WA secretary Dan Hill said private contractors should ensure workers were never alone on home visits.
"The circumstances of the Rockingham visit are still being investigated but the HSUWA believes all mental health workers making home visits must be accompanied by a second worker," he said.
"If the state government contracts out to private providers, we say contracts must ensure that they include a full safety audit of the providers delivering that service."
Australian Association of Social Workers national president Christine Craik said all social workers had the right to safety while doing their job.
"It is especially hard to understand this kind of violence towards any worker who is there specifically to help."