Trans woman in psychiatric ward at Bendigo Health attacked by another patient

Police are investigating after a transgender woman was attacked by another patient while in psychiatric care at Bendigo Health.

Alex Collins, 19, admitted herself to hospital this month with anxiety and depression she said was brought on by the marriage equality survey.  

She was in a hospital common room on Sunday when a male patient sat beside her on a couch and grabbed her by the throat, she said. 

It is believed CCTV footage of the incident shows nurses pulling the alleged attacker off Ms Collins after several seconds. 

Ms Collins said the incident occurred one day after she reported to staff the man was heard using offensive language about the LGBTI community.  

She said nurses assured her the man was not a threat.

It is believed the man was moved to another part of the hospital and later discharged. 

A spokeswoman for Bendigo Health would not confirm whether the alleged attacker had left the hospital and could not comment further as the matter was under police investigation.

However, she said the safety of all the hospital’s patients - including those who identified as LGBTI - was taken seriously. 

"Our staff are well educated around the LGBTI community’s needs and strive to provide a supportive care environment," the spokeswoman said.  

"We respond immediately to any incidents or concerns raised by patients and where service improvements are identified we make the relevant changes.”

Bendigo Health was this week announced as one of 30 Victorian hospitals to share in $6.7 million of state government funding for security guards. 

Four full-time equivalent guards will be employed at the hospital's Vahland House facility – the old psychiatric building. 

Ms Collins was a patient in a ward inside the main hospital building.     

She now feared leaving the hospital because he attacker was out in the community. 

"If this is supposed to be the safest place, and if I can't feel safe up here, where am I supposed to feel safe?" Ms Collins said. 

"If something like that comes out in the community, I won't be in hospital, I'll be in a morgue." 

The victim's friend, Belladonna-Rose Richards, was visiting the hospital at the time of the incident and said it left Ms Collins in shock. 

"It didn't really hit her until later, when she was just a wreck," Ms Richards said. 

Senior Constable Holly Oldmeadow, a gay and lesbian liaison officer at Bendigo police station, said anxieties among queer people were heightened because of the survey. 

"It's a really, really tough time for LGBTI+ community," the police officer said.