Woman living with autism who phoned police for help after she was assaulted by her partner is accused of being the ‘aggressor’
- Tasmanian woman lashes out after assault
- Police issued 12 month protection order against her
A woman living with autism phoned police for help after she was assaulted by her partner before she was mistakenly identified as the aggressor.
Anna* was heaped with the blame despite her partner crushing her into a door at his home in southern Tasmania during an argument over money in 2021.
Her story comes after a report was released this week showing people who were mistakenly identified as aggressors were struggling to have their names cleared.
Frightened when he refused to stop, Anna lashed out, smashing a hole in the wall of his home with his musical instruments.
‘I was telling him that he was hurting me and I screamed. I was horrified, he’d never done anything like that before,’ Anna told the ABC.
Anna then phoned police and admitted to officers she had put the hole in the wall but said she wasn’t given the opportunity to make a full statement.
A woman living with autism phoned police for help after she was assaulted by her partner before she was mistakenly identified as the aggressor (stock image)
Her story comes after a report was released this week showing people who were mistakenly identified as aggressors were struggling to have their names cleared (stock image)
After speaking to her partner police informed her they deemed her ‘the aggressor’.
They told Anna she would be listed as the respondent on a police family violence order (PFVO). She claims the consequences were not explained fully to her.
PFVOs are 12 month protection orders which place conditions on someone police believe ‘has committed, or is likely to commit, family violence.
In Anna’s case, the PFVO meant the loss of her home, the relationship, a lost sense of safety and mistrust in the police.
Tasmanian family violence service Engender Equality released a report this week showing people mistakenly identified as aggressors were struggling to have their PFVOs revoked.
‘I have seen many women’s lives changed forever after being misidentified by police as the perpetrator — it is such an enormous experience of injustice,’ chief executive Alina Thomas said.
The issue has gained attention in Tasmania after a disproportionate number of women were named as perpetrators in the state.
Police issued protection orders against female respondents at more than triple the rate of the courts in 2022 — almost 30 per cent of PFVOs listed a female aggressor compared with 9 per cent of court orders.
PFVOs have proved ‘near impossible’ to revoke even when it is likely the perpetrator has been ‘misidentified’, according to Ms Thomas.
Dr Ellen Reeves, a researcher at the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, claimed there is ‘a trend of misidentification’ of victims of domestic violence
Tasmanian police spokesman Rob Blackwood said the increasing number and proportion of women listed on PFVOs could be down to reduced stigma for male victims reporting abuse.
He also said it could be that more women are perpetrating family violence.
Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre researcher Dr Ellen Reeves disagreed saying there was a ‘trend of misidentification’ of victims of domestic violence.
She believes the Tasmanian system puts too much power in the hands of police.
Dr Reeves said in Tasmania the vital decision about who is the victim and who is the perpetrator is made in the heat of the moment at the scene, without the ‘safety net’ of courts to weight up all the evidence.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Tasmanian Police for comment.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the woman.