16 Days Against Violence Campaign Day 4

Safe now but fix the system please 

Lee* was staying at a motel before she came directly to a McAuley Care refuge.  After ten years of being abused, Lee left a controlling and violent relationship. She tried to commit suicide.

Then when she found out her partner had become violent with the children she returned home. She wanted to make sure that “he would take it out on me rather than on the kids.”

Today the children are now in foster care for the moment. As a result, Lee has been able to leave her partner knowing her children are safe. She is working closely with her caseworkers to get her children back.

Nevertheless life is not straightforward, mainly due to the legal system.

Since leaving her violent relationship, Lee has had to take out four separate intervention orders (IVOs). On her most recent court appearance, she was lectured for over 30 minutes by a magistrate about not leaving the violent relationship and “that it was all [her] fault”.

The magistrate decided she was a ‘serial’ IVO applicant and told Lee not to apply for another as she wouldn’t get it.

Lee and her worker left the court under the impression that the IVO had in fact been granted in full. Later, when her partner called and threatened to kill her she realised she had minimal protection and no right to report him of a breach of the IVO.

Lee would like to tell the government to “make family violence a priority.

“People need to be educated about the issue and why women don’t leave a violent relationship,” she said.

Today Lee is safe thanks to being supported by McAuley Community Services for Women.

*Not her real name.