Policeman's heartfelt account of domestic violence
QUEENSLAND Police Senior Constable Martin shares a story about one account of domestic violence.
"We turn off the red and blues as we arrive at the house. We move quickly yet silently on foot in the dark towards the front door. We pause and listen for a moment.
A woman attempts to stifle her own sobbing as she hushes and soothes a hysterical toddler. I see her through the curtains. She's curled into a ball on the floor beside the bed; the little one clinging to her, seeking comfort through his tear-streamed face in her protective arms.
They are inside the front bedroom, less than a metre from where I stand outside, but they don't yet know we're here. Something is smashed toward the back of the house and a man begins yelling incoherently.
His voice booms louder and louder and we know he's striding towards the front of the house.
Closer to her, closer to the baby.
He tries to open the bedroom door but realises that she's locked it. He begins thumping and smashing against the door.
The threats start - what he's going to do to her if she doesn't unlock the door. What he's going to do to her when she does.
The front door is unlocked and we enter the house.
The irate male sees us, and as we announce our presence, he immediately unleashes expletive-laden demands that we leave. His verbal tirade spills into clenched fists and we fight to restrain him.
Once handcuffed, we explain that he is detained by virtue of domestic violence legislation.
He continues to demand, in no uncertain terms, that we leave his house. We understand, this is his home. We also understand that it is his wife and baby's home as well.
They, like everyone, have the right to feel safe here.
I coax her out of the bedroom, reassuring her that she is safe. The baby continues to grapple at her, confusion now etched across his tiny, tear-soaked face at the strangers in blue standing in his house.
We look around and see the holes that have been punched in walls, a dinner plate of food smashed onto the floor, the dining table pushed over resting against a wall, and chairs are overturned.
Just some of the signs of domestic violence.
When police suspect that a domestic violence (DV) incident has occurred, or is occurring, they are obligated to enter any place, using whatever force is reasonably necessary, to investigate.
Police also have legislated powers to search for evidence of domestic violence and can detain persons in order to investigate and/or complete relevant correspondence.
The events outlined in the incident above are from one of the less confronting incidents of domestic violence I've attended - they are often far worse.
May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month.
It's not pleasant, it's not acceptable, but it happens in every suburb right under your nose.
If you believe there is a domestic violence incident occurring, call '000' immediately.
It doesn't matter if you know the people involved or not.
Make it your business to make it our business - if we don't know it's happening, we can't prevent it from continuing.
You never know, you might just save a life.