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  1. #1
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    Default Something frightening happened to me. When mandatory reporting rights are abused.

    Hi. I wanted to write about something that has rocked our family for the past few months and only now seems to appear to being close to finishing.

    I just want to get this out so that others who find them in a similar situation will know what to do or know that they have someone to go to.

    About 2 months ago, my partner became very violent as a result of a bad reaction to his medication which had recently been modified by his practitioner. On this particular day, he had consumed about 4 or 5 stubbies and it was after this his mood changed and he became angry and just not the person I knew. I had never been in this situation before and had no idea what to do.

    The kids, who were asleep at the time, were never in the line of fire as I managed to contain him in the lounge and then outside as he decided he needed to go for a walk. When he came back, he continued to be violent in that he shoved me around and issued threats. At this stage, I contacted SAPOL to request assistance - basically for someone to calm him down and get him to bed.

    Two police officers arrived. One talked to him and one talked to me. They were great. Non judgemental, thorough and caring. They talked him down expertly, checked the house, saw the kids, spoke to me at length, were satisfied that no one was in danger and advised me that an incident report would be made and noted on a local file. No intervention orders, no further action would be taken. I was happy with this and grateful for their assistance. The rest of the night passed without incident.

    He slept it off and woke in the morning very remorseful, confused and distressed. He then attended his practitioner, told him the situation and things were done. He was scared about what had happened and since then everything has been just as it was - a good marriage, loving father.

    About 3 weeks after that night, I got a call from a Family Violence Unit. The woman on the end of the phone asked me how things were, I said they were fine, explained what the situation was (that the doctor had confirmed a bad reaction to meds) and that there was very little likelihood of a repeat performance. It was at that point she told me she had reported myself and my partner to Families SA "as per mandatory notification requirements". Stunned, I asked her on what basis did she think my kids were being abused and neglected and who made the report. She refused to answer these questions and I was floored by both her attitude and her clinging to confidentiality! When she'd just passed all our details onto a protection organisation! I then said I would challenge to which she said I couldn't and that once it was done that was it. She said that Families SA would make an assessment and might call/visit me to check on the children and that I would have a record. I then asked to speak to someone above her. She said she would leave a message for her supervisor. Thank the devil I remembered to take her name, badge number and phone number and where she was calling from as this would help later.

    I was furious and then upset. My partner was devastated.

    So I rang Families SA and spoke to someone in the Intake section. They were so helpful and oddly enough not surprised. I was told that many unfounded reports were made by overzealous police officers and that, technically, a constable at a police station who had not attended my house had no right to make such a report but the legislation allowed it. She admitted that yes, once a report was made then the record even if marked unfounded would exist forevermore. I gave her my details and asked her to contact me if anything with my name on it came through.

    It took me ages to contact that supervisor but finally did and the Sgt was surprised that such a report had been made and would I like to complain. I said I did and submitted a statement signed by us both.

    About a week later, Families SA contacted us to say that they'd received a report at which point I was able to provide them with a copy of my complaint.

    I'll save you the details but the long and short of it was, while we were unable to protect our rights, it was established that they were violated and our complaint with SAPOL stood. What amazes me is that so much attention was paid to a small incident when only last week a starving child was pulled from a Gilles Plains home and Families SA had been notified about this child in early 2012.

    I am a good mother. My partner is a good father. My kids have never been abused. Someone behind a desk made a decision that adversely affected our family and we did something about it. But it's been very stressful. Yet it was worth chasing. So many people don't. I urge you that if you find yourself in this situation follow it up. Take names, numbers, dates and times. Write your complaint and follow it up. Notify your MP and the local paper if you have to. Make people listen. While it's very important to report neglect and abuse, it's just as important to make sure those reports aren't made flippantly and just because someone is on a power trip.

    I will also add that I will never ever ever call the Police for anything ever again.

    Thanks for reading. Just needed to get this out for some reason.

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  3. #2
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    I'm very sorry to hear that this happened to you

    Unfortunately for those of us doing the right thing, yes it is absolutely a mandated call to the child abuse report line if police are called out to an assault or violence issue in a house while children are present.

    Families SA don't take children for these reasons though! And having the doctors reports means that you can prove your story.
    It takes multiple reports before FASA start to look into it properly

    (I was assaulted by a non-immediate family member a few months ago, the police were called -and they warned us while they were there that it was an automatic notification...how unfair is that? Someone forces their way into my house, sexually harasses and verbally assaults me while I'm holding a child...and we're the ones who got the black mark *grr* slightly different, but I totally get your grievance, even if I think it's unlikely that either of us will get in trouble or anything of the sort)

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  5. #3
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    I understand your frustration but it's a bit harsh to suggest the police officer was on a power trip, I would think that he obviously had concerns and felt the need to report it otherwise he wouldn't have. It's good he did so and that it was followed up, my dh being a former police officer has experienced many such situations that didn't end up being a one off, many woman in your situation give excuses for their partners violent behaviour. I'm glad your partner is back on track and it was a one off incident but many aren't. Officers are here to serve and protect in which the officer was doing.

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  7. #4
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    whilst I don't want to diminish what you have been through, I do want to say that police officers are in a very delicate situation. A few years ago there was a case where 2 police officers attended a domestic, assessed the situation and left again. Given they were so busy, they didn't report the incident to their Family Violence Unit immediately. A few days later the male involved in the domestic incident murdered his partner. The 2 police officers involved have been scrutinised, investigated, the subject of talk back radio, counselled by their Ethical Standards Department. It is such a grey area and often police are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    Again I really don't want to diminish your situation, but wanted to put forward another perspective.

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  9. #5
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    As a person in a position where I am professionally bound by mandatory reporting of I come into contact with a family violence situation I HAVE to report it- failure to do so can result in loss of my registration. Secondly many of the abused women I come into contact with will go to many extremes to protect an abusive partner out of fear. It's a bit harsh to assume the police were on a power trip as they are in the list mandated to report abuse or suspected abuse. I know if they didn't report it and your hubby went nuts and killed you and your kids they would be the worst people on earth for not protecting you.

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  11. #6
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    Sorry you had to go through that, it wouldn't be nice. Your dh did the right thing by seeking help immediately and that would work in your favour, but it sounds as if the police did what they were legally obliged to.
    Last edited by atomicmama; 21-10-2013 at 16:28.

  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberleygal1 View Post
    I understand your frustration but it's a bit harsh to suggest the police officer was on a power trip, I would think that he obviously had concerns and felt the need to report it otherwise he wouldn't have. It's good he did so and that it was followed up, my dh being a former police officer has experienced many such situations that didn't end up being a one off, many woman in your situation give excuses for their partners violent behaviour. I'm glad your partner is back on track and it was a one off incident but many aren't. Officers are here to serve and protect in which the officer was doing.
    I don't often agree you Kimberleygal- but in this instance, I do. OP, while I sympathise with your situation, all too often these situations are not one-offs and many traumatised women will lie to protect their abusers. Obviously this isn't the case with you, but that doesn't mean it won't be the case with the next person iykwim.

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  14. #8
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    I'm very sorry you have been put through this, but child protection and mandatory reporters can't win. What if your DH didn't have his meds fixed, or did and it didn't work and a week or month later he killed you? or hurt the kids? the public would be screaming for blood on why you weren't flagged with child protection.

    The bottom line is that violence in the home, around children (even if they weren't in the room) is a huge risk to them. It's fantastic that he is well again, and clearly is a good man that simply had a bad reaction from the alcohol and meds... but the cops and CP are only doing their jobs. TBH these police don't deserve a complaint, they were doing what is legally required of them.

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  16. #9
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    I find this disgusting and I'm sorry you had to go through it I know a family who are very abusive and have even seen the dad throw the 2 yo against the security screen and winded her...yet NOTHING gets done and they are reported over and over again. Police need to define a decent family asking for ONE OFF help. This type of scenario turns ppl off asking for help. Unless they have been there, no-one knows how unhelpful and unfair the police can be at times. My Brother successfully has a DVO on me....yet my brother molested me...go figure???

    However....I can tell you of one good outcome. My dh is a very patient man and my 14 yo ds is also a good kid...but one day they pushed eachother to wrestling point and because I wasn't there, my dd got scared and called the police. It was a good thing. The police gave my son a good talking to and even told ME to call him if I ever needed some help or to give my teen a smack...he would do it! He was a good cop and very strict but understanding of the situation. My son has NEVER stepped out of line since. But that one police man out of the dozens I have met...was the ONLY one I had any respect for. He understood how teens are and that teens NEED to respect their parents.
    Last edited by ozeymumof5; 21-10-2013 at 14:58.

  17. #10
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    Wow Caviar. What a frightening experience for you and your family. Big hugs.

    The police were just doing their job. I know it's easy to say that since it didn't happen to me. The police don't know that your husband isn't like that normally though.

    I'm glad things are back to normal for your family.

    Sent from my GT-I9100T using The Bub Hub mobile app


 
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