|*Content warning: discussion of sexual assault and family violence*
Imagine enduring years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of your partner, finally accessing the support you needed to escape him, and then being dragged through the courts – and forced to stand in the witness box while he asks you questions about every aspect of your personal life.
That’s what happened to me – because there was nothing stopping my abuser from cross-examining me in family court. Yesterday my local MP Cathy McGowan took my call for change to the federal parliament and urged the government to urgently introduce a law to stop this from happening.
Can you help me build enough community pressure to force Attorney-General George Brandis to introduce a law to protect victims in family court?
My ex-husband abused me physically, sexually and emotionally for 11 years. The day that I packed my children and I into our tiny corolla and left our family home, he told me ‘I’m going to take you for everything you’ve got’. He tried and the system enabled him in many ways.
Even though he was criminally charged for what he had done to me, I was sick to my stomach when I discovered that he would be able to cross-examine me during family law proceedings.
The day I took the stand and was forced to answer the questions of a man who had sexually assaulted and abused me for over a decade was a massive slap in the face. And having to endure that horrific experience was a major obstacle in my recovery from the trauma of his abuse – an invasive, disempowering and cruel process I was forced to endure by our courts.
No person should be cross-examined by the person who sexually assaulted and beat them. We need our laws to firmly state that this should never be able to happen. Will you join my campaign? Click here to get involved.
The states and territories already have rules in place to make sure the criminal proceedings in their jurisdictions don’t allow perpetrators to cross examine those they’ve abused. It’s unbelievable that the federal, family law courts don’t have this rule in place as well.
For the past two years I’ve seen the community work together to pressure decision-makers to drive important changes on the broken family violence system. Can you stand with me and build the pressure needed to change this cruel system?
Thanks for your support,
Eleanor, survivor of family violence
via Fair Agenda
*If you or anyone you know is experiencing family violence or sexual abuse you can call 1800 RESPECT. If you are in danger right now, call 000.*
1&2. Victorian MP pushing to end Family Court cross-examinations by abusive ex-partners, ABC News, 19 October 2015.