The apartment is in darkness and there’s no movement from inside, so we check the unit and street number we’ve been tasked to attend. It’s correct, we’re at the right place. The front door isn’t quite closed, it’s ever so slightly ajar, so I nudge it open. The smell is what strikes me first. It’s familiar, metallic. Before I even switch the torch on, I know there’s blood.
We shine our torches through the front door into the darkened unit and my focus is immediately drawn to a woman lying on a couch. As we approach her, a figure runs from the shadows to the back of the unit. As we run after this person, the woman manages to call out, “I think he’s got a knife”. We run through unfamiliar rooms using only torchlight, tripping over upturned furniture, down a flight of stairs to an open garage. He is gone.
We call for assistance and soon there are other police units who’ve come to help. We return upstairs to the woman and find the light switches. Once the room is illuminated, the full extent of this domestic incident is revealed.
She is still lying on the couch and appears unable to move. She is shaking involuntarily. She has many raised bruises and abrasions, and there is blood.
There is a glass coffee table smashed on the floor. She reluctantly tells us, her voice quivering, that he smashed this in a fit of rage.
He is her partner. She says that he’s just drunk and didn’t mean it. He became jealous over the attention of an acquaintance – he gets jealous often. She says it’s really her own fault and it wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been so friendly.
An ambulance is called and she is transported for treatment.
We find him hiding in the backyard, no knife, however with a large shard of glass, and he is detained to enable us to make an application for a Domestic Violence (DV) Order.
Most police officers have attended a DV incident with a level of violence equally as severe as this one, or worse. Some DV incidents involve property damage, some are sexual assault, some involve financial control, some verbal threats, and some involve straight up physical violence. Black eyes, broken bones, stabbings and more excuses than you could ever imagine. Let’s be very clear, there is never an excuse for any of these behaviours.
To clarify, DV doesn’t always involve a male ‘aggressor’ and a female ‘victim’, but far more often than not, this is the case. There are, of course, times where a woman is the perpetrator, and a male the aggrieved. DV isn’t only spousal abuse. It can be child to parent (adult children) or between adult siblings. It can be between same sex partners or even a care-giver relationship. Both male and female.
The ugly truth about DV is that it’s often a family secret, and at times, a family tradition – after all we reenact the roles we know.
DV can be (but is not always) intertwined with substance abuse, be it alcohol or drugs. There’s no doubt DV is a complex and deep-seeded issue in every community with no quick fix, but there is help. Make the call to DV Connect:
Womensline – Phone 1800 811 811
Mensline – Phone 1800 600 636
If it’s an emergency that requires immediate police attendance, call triple zero (000). If it’s non-urgent think Policelink, call 131 444.
Article by Senior Constable Martin