This is everything they need to know.
Today, the most powerful people in the country will at the Council of Australian Governments. According to their agenda, they will be briefed on the domestic violence epidemic confronting our nation.
But the truth is, everything our leaders need to know is quite simple. They just need to know about the pain, about the fear and about the grief. Over the last ten days, Australia’s first royal commission into family violence has heard some of these stories.
These three tell our governments everything they need to know to make this a national priority:
Content warning: This post deals with family violence and sexual assault and may be distressing for some readers.
1. A woman was told by police she would need a “bullet in the brain” before they would intervene, despite intervention order.
A woman whose husband threatened to kill himself and their children so she could “never see them again” said she endure years of psychological and emotional abuse at his hands.
She said she reported her former husband – who chased her in a car at least three times and attempted to run her off the road – to police numerous times for breaching his intervention order, but he never got so much as a warning call.
“A police officer advised me that unless I had a ‘bullet in my brain or a knife in my stomach’ they would not intervene, even though I had an intervention order,” she said.
“The officer advised that they needed concrete evidence otherwise they risked taking a matter to court and losing it.”
“In my experience I felt that was laughed off and ignored.”
2. A man who repeatedly raped his disabled wife – prompting her to attempt suicide – was then allowed to collect her from the hospital.
A disabled woman was repeatedly raped in her sleep by her husband (who was also her carer) over a decade of abuse, which culminated in an attempt to kill herself after she was assaulted four times in one week.
“I took an overdose. I didn’t feel that there was any other way out from the relationship that I was in and the situation I was in, and I couldn’t handle it anymore,” she said.
“He left me knowing that I’d taken an overdose and left me on the floor to die.”