When Rosie Cooney was arrested for domestic violence assault and trespass, the 22-year-old student explained to the police officer that he got it all wrong; she was the victim, not the perpetrator.
Despite Rosie having told the police emergency operator that Christian hit her with his fist, headbutted her and threw her belongings outside, the police officer attempted to obtain evidence about Rosie assaulting Christian.
While Christian denied being hurt by Rosie or having any fears about her ongoing behaviour, the officer pressed on, asking him repeatedly whether he had concerns about the potential for Rosie to become violent.
It’s unclear whether the officers knew about the earlier AVOs against Christian.
Within 10 minutes of arriving, the officer concludes Rosie was not assaulted at all.
“I don’t believe there’s any case to answer in terms of an assault allegation,” he told Christian and his parents.
While police spoke to the family, Rosie returned to the house. She decided to listen to what was happening from another room. Almost 30 minutes into the visit, the officer finally noticed her and asked if she wanted to detail her allegations against Christian. . . .
In an attempt to clarify the situation, Rosie told police, “He hit me, I didn’t hit him.”
But that afternoon, Rosie was taken in a police wagon and driven to Katoomba police station, where she said she spent six hours locked up in a police cell.
Her assault charges were later dropped, but she pleaded guilty and was convicted of trespass.
Former NSW magistrate Mr Heilpern told 7.30 he watched the body-cam footage twice “to make sure it was real”.
“To form a conclusion that there’s no case to answer, before speaking to the victim, obviously defies logic,” he said.
[I]n NSW, around 25 per cent of women surveyed by the domestic violence advocacy group Women’s Safety NSW reported being misidentified as the primary aggressor, while over 90 per cent of frontline domestic violence services said they saw the victim being misidentified as the primary aggressor sometimes, often or very often.
Feminist Legal Clinic – Anna Kerr discusses what the main objectives are in the Feminist Legal Clinic, how the justice system is failing Aboriginal women and how domestic violence could be reduced.
Mother’s Day is a day for mothers – not “special person’s’. Writer Jane Cafarella discusses how language can erase or affirm experience.
The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday that the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) had developed a booklet about chestfeeding, which triggered outrage on talkback radio.
Rainbow Families, the peak body supporting LGBTIQ+ parents, paid the ABA $20,000 to create an educational booklet about lactating and chestfeeding for its community.
“ABA is not changing our use of mother-to-mother language,” the organisation said in a Facebook post.
“We will not be erasing gendered language such as ‘mother’ or ‘mum’ or ‘mothering’ from our vocabulary, and we have no future plans to adopt the use of language such as ‘chestfeeding’ rather than ‘breastfeeding’ more generally within the Association.”
Labor’s spokeswoman for women Tanya Plibersek hosed down talk of changing the language around breastfeeding.
“I’m not sure that there’s a huge demand for this from the Australian public,” she told radio station 2GB on Tuesday night.
“For me, it’s going to be breastfeeding. I’m not changing what I call it.”
Doctors treating children and teens with gender dysphoria have opened up about feeling pressured to prescribe puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones before non-medical interventions, such as psychotherapy, have been explored.In the first Australian study of its kind, clinicians at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney say the emergence of a “conveyor belt” mentality to treating the condition has forced them to compromise their own ethical standards.The treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents remains contentious. A group of Sydney clinicians is concerned that families are pinning hopes on pills rather than broader psychosocial therapies.
The Sydney doctors, including paediatric endocrinologist Professor Geoffrey Ambler and psychiatrist Dr Kasia Kozlowska, said many children equated gender affirmation with medical intervention and believed their distress “would be completely alleviated if they pursued the pathway of medical treatment”.
Both the patients and their families arrived at the clinic with strongly entrenched beliefs, and the doctors’ efforts to discuss psychological, social or family issues “fell on deaf ears”.
Another challenging aspect of their work was the increased pressure to prescribe cross-sex hormones to children aged 16 and over following a 2017 ruling by the Family Court of Australia.
The ruling essentially removed the requirement for court approval to access stage 2 treatment — cross-sex hormones — and put this responsibility into the hands of doctors.
“In the wake of [this] … some families presented to the clinic with the expectation that a child nearing the age of 16 could attend the gender service, see the mental health team for a one-off consultation, collect a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and move to another service to obtain stage 2 treatment … with no engagement in a therapeutic process.”
Criminalising coercive control – controlling and intimidating behaviour in a relationship – is on the agenda across Australia, including in NSW where a parliamentary committee is looking at the proposal.
But Aboriginal women’s legal service Wirringa Baiya says a new crime could have unintended consequences, and other changes need to happen first.
Indigenous women going to police face “judgmental and stereotypical attitudes”, says Wirringa Baiya’s co-ordinator, Bundjalung woman Christine Robinson.
According to South West Sydney Legal Centre CEO Yvette Vignando: “In situations of coercive control, usually the male has the ability to manipulate people.
“There’s a much higher chance of the police being hoodwinked, for want of a better word, into believing the primary perpetrator is the woman. And when you add onto that the racial bias, there’s an even higher chance of that with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.”
In some cases, women who seek help are wrongly identified as the primary perpetrator and are then themselves subject to an AVO or even criminal charges.
Research by ANROWS CEO Heather Nancarrow shows this is more likely to happen to Indigenous women.
Frontline workers are worried a coercive control crime could lead to more misidentification, ironically harming those the law is designed to help.
“Sometimes (police will) turn up and by then she’s overwhelmed,” Ms Turner says.
“She might come across as angry but she’s not, she’s frustrated because she’s not being heard. A lot of my defendants are (actually) victims.”
Neither Wirringa Baiya and South West Sydney Legal Centre opposes criminalisation of coercive control but both say other reforms have to happen first.
During the 1970s, second-wave feminists thoroughly critiqued the relegation of women to childrearing. This left some with a lingering sense that becoming a mother was an old-fashioned or politically regressive choice.
But in fact there is a long tradition of maternal radicalism in Australia. Mothers have been out on the streets, fighting for change, as frequently as they have kept the home fires burning.
The effectiveness of these maternal activists was proven in 1894 when South Australia became the first electorate in the world to give women the vote.
Further evidence of the political power of first-wave feminists came in 1912, when the Commonwealth government approved the Maternity Allowance. This was radical in using government funds to provide state support to mothers as citizens, undercutting the authority of their husbands.
In the 1960s and 1970s, while women’s liberation movement activists such as Merle Thornton, Marcia Langton and Zelda D’Aprano were demanding equal rights for women, middle-class mothers around Australia were quietly rebelling against the medicalisation of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
Mothers have a long history of political activism not just in Australia, but around the world.
Up till now, the government has failed to deliver meaningful reform for women. If the government is truly “listening to women” as the Prime Minister recently promised, we’ll see some big reforms coming out of our federal budget handed down next week.
Additional and more inclusive paid parental leave
Domestic violence funding
Wage increases to those working in care sectors
A 3-part documentary series that explores one of the most complex and urgent issues of our time – domestic abuse. Presented by investigative journalist Jess Hill, this series examines the fine lines between love, abuse and power. Available from Wednesday 5 May 8:30 PM AEST.
In 2018, the federal government promised to improve the visibility of superannuation assets during family court proceedings by setting up a new “electronic” system. But more than two years later, advocates are concerned the “urgent” changes have not been implemented. A spokesperson for the Superannuation Minister Jane Hume said the government would begin consulting on the legislation soon