Woman with autism who called police for help after being assaulted by her partner is accused of being the ‘aggressor’
- Tasmanian woman lashes out after assault
- The police have imposed a 12-month protection order on her
A woman with autism called the police for help after she was assaulted by her partner before being misidentified as the aggressor.
Anna* was blamed, despite her partner pushing her against a door at his home in southern Tasmania in 2021 during an argument over money.
Her story comes after a report was released this week showing that people falsely identified as aggressors struggled to have their names cleared.
Frightened when he refused to stop, Anna lashed out and smashed a hole in the wall of his house with his musical instruments.
“I told him he was hurting me and I screamed. I was shocked, he had never done anything like this,” Anna told the ABC.
Anna then called the police and admitted to officers that she made the hole in the wall, but said she was not given a chance to give a full statement.
A woman with autism called the police for help after being assaulted by her partner before being misidentified as the aggressor (stock image)
Her story comes after a report released this week showed people falsely identified as aggressors struggling to have their names cleared (stock image)
After speaking to her partner, the police informed her that they were calling her “the aggressor.”
They told Anna that she would be listed as the respondent on a Police Violence Order (PFVO). She claims that the consequences were not fully explained to her.
PFVOs are 12-month protection orders that place conditions on someone who police say has “committed or is likely to commit domestic violence.”
In Anna’s case, the PFVO meant the loss of her home, the relationship, a lost sense of security and distrust in the police.
The Tasmanian domestic violence service Engender Equality released a report this week showing that people wrongly identified as aggressors have struggled to have their PFVOs revoked.
“I’ve seen many women’s lives change forever after being wrongly identified as the perpetrator by the police – it’s such a huge experience of injustice,” said managing director Alina Thomas.
The issue has received attention in Tasmania after a disproportionate number of women were cited as perpetrators in the state.
Police issued more than three times as many protection orders against female respondents as the courts in 2022 – nearly 30 percent of PFVOs listed a female aggressor compared to 9 percent of court orders.
PFVOs have proved ‘almost impossible’ to withdraw, even when it is likely that the perpetrator has been ‘misidentified’, Ms Thomas said.
Dr. Ellen Reeves, a researcher at the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Center, claimed that there is “a trend of misidentification” of victims of domestic violence
Tasmanian Police spokesman Rob Blackwood said the increasing number and share of women listed on PFVOs may be due to a reduced stigma for male victims who report abuse.
He also said more women could be committing domestic violence.
Dr. Ellen Reeves, a researcher at the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Center, disagreed, saying there was a “trend of misidentification” of victims of domestic violence.
She thinks the Tasmanian system puts too much power in the hands of the police.
Dr. Reeves said that in Tasmania the vital decision about who is the victim and who is the perpetrator is made in the heat of the moment on the spot, without the “safety net” of courts to weigh down all the evidence.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Tasmanian police for comment.
*Name has been changed to protect the woman’s identity.