One moment they were three strangers going to work on an ordinary Monday morning in Melbourne’s CBD. Then, in the blink of an eye, Natalie Gullace, Paul de Waard and Brendan Keilar found themselves deliberately walking into the line of gunfire – staring down and trying to stop an armed madman hellbent on murdering his girlfriend.
The heroism the trio showed is beyond words, and while it saved Kaera Douglas’s life it came with a terrible cost. Kaera, Paul and Brendan were shot by drug-fuelled bikie Christopher Hudson, and Brendan died from his wounds.
For the first time since the shooting the three survivors reunite to pay tribute to Brendan. They tell Tara Brown the trauma of that day will never leave them, and that a fate as cruel as this should be a reminder to everyone that there’s nothing more precious than life itself.
Reporter: Tara Brown
Producer: Laura Sparkes
View the 60 Minutes report (parts 1, 2 and 3) here.
Ayr man jailed for seven charges of domestic violence
A THUG has been caged for eight years after he pleaded guilty to seven charges of domestic violence against three of his former partners.
John Cameron, 26, from Ayr, finally admitted abducting and locking up his three victims on separate occasions between 2010 and 2013, after they gave evidence at a trial at Ayr Sheriff Court.
Cameron pleaded guilty during the trial at the end of June.
In May 2010 at Tams Brig, Ayr he seized his then partner, Kenny Mackay by the throat and punched him on the head.
From May 2010 and December 2012 at a property on River Street, Ayr and Whitehall Road, MayboleCameron abducted Mr Mackay, locked the door of the house, refused to allow him to leave and held him there against his will.
Cameron threatened the man with violence, repeatedly punched him on his head and body, poked his fingers into his eyes, seized him by his throat, held him down on a bed and kicked him on the body.
When Mr Mackay ended their relationship Cameron behaved in a threatening manner when he shouted and swore at his ex through text message and over the phone.
Cameron treated his next partner, Leanda Hanley in the same way. On various occasions between January 2013 to April 2013 at a property on Phillip Square, Ayr, he abducted her, locked the door, refused to allow her to leave and detained her against her will.
He punched Ms Hanley’s body, kicked her, seized her by the throat, pushed and held her against the walls.
Cameron shouted and swore at her, grabbed and broke her mobile phone, threatened her with violence and uttered abusive remarks.
Between April, 1, 2013 and May, 31, 2013 Cameron locked his third partner - Gail Stephens, in a property in Kilmarnock and refused to allow her to leave, holding her there against her will.
He grabbed Ms Stephens by her clothes, punched her on the head and body, seized her by the throat, compressing it and restricting her breathing.
Cameron pushed her against a wall where her head struck and broke a mirror, injuring her and putting her life in danger.
On several occasions he took her medication for asthma from her and threatened her family with violence.
Cameron appeared from custody before Sheriff John Montgomery at Ayr Sheriff Court last week.
Speaking on his behalf, defence solicitor Ms Mackay said: “Mr Cameron pleaded guilty during the trial.
“He is a man who is not without his own troubles. He had experienced domestic abuse from a young age and became a drifter throughout various parts of Ayrshire.
“He suffered from PTSD and pleaded guilty when there were still four other civilian witnesses still to come.”
Addressing the dock, Sheriff Montgomery said: “You have admitted to all of these charges but only after three people had to suffer by recounting the ways you hurt them individually.
“You assaulted Mr Mackay on the day of your civil partnership. There can be no doubt about it that your actions against this individual were extreme.
“I have taken into account that you did change your pleas from not guilty to guilty during the course of the trial.
“The only option is a custodial sentence and an extended sentence. I am concerned about public safety when you are released.”
Cameron will spend five years in prison and will be on licence for three years when he is released.
This article was written by a court reporter and has been copied from here.
You don't have to torture everyone in the village to make everyone afraid, you only need to do it to one person.
As George McEncroe, once an investigator for the War Crimes Tribunal, said: "You don't have to torture everyone in the village to make everyone afraid, you only need to do it to one person. It's the same with rape, it doesn't have to happen to every woman to make every woman afraid."
A study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health last month found strong links between women's experience of sexual violence and poor mental health.
This is hardly new or surprising information, but what was interesting was the effect was present for the entire continuum of sexual violence. Being flashed, grabbed or harassed were the most common experiences and were also associated with increased depression and anxiety.
The report concluded that doctors "should consider an experience of sexual violence as a possible factor in otherwise unexplained anxiety and depressive symptoms in female patients".
Good advice, but perhaps it's more than just doctors who need to consider this.
The report on sexual assault in universities released Tuesday also showed that about half the students at Australian universities have experienced some form of sexual harassment.
While we expect women who have been victims of rape to suffer serious emotional and physiological injuries, the regular experience of what might sound like a minor incident is all too often met with the question "so nothing actually happened then?".
Anyone who asks that question, or even thinks it, doesn't understand the threat inherent in every manifestation of sexual violence.
Just recently, a woman I know was left alone in her workplace with a man she'd never met before. Almost immediately he was standing too close to her, asking questions about her life, talking about things he'd seen on her Facebook page, whether she was a feminist.
If you think this sounds innocuous, you're wrong. It wasn't. She was terrified.
He might have just been a slightly socially awkward guy trying to make conversation. Or he could have been a stalker with violent tendencies. There's really no way to tell the difference between them until it's too late, so as soon as she was put in that position, she had to start calculating the arithmetic of violence.
What is he really trying to do here? Do I smile and placate him, or will that add up to an invitation in his mind? Will it make me look weak? Will that encourage him or pacify him? If I go strong and demand he leaves, will that enrage him or deter him? What can I do that won't make him angry? What do I do if he does get angry? If I run will he chase me? Where do I go? How far is safety? What can I use to defend myself? Who can hear me if I scream? How will he react if I pick up my phone and text someone? What if I'm wrong and he tells everyone I'm freaky and paranoid? What if I'm right and he hurts me? If he tries to hurt me do I let him so he doesn't hurt me even more? How dare he make me feel like this, how angry will he get if he sees my anger?
This particular woman in this particular situation managed to make an excuse to leave the room, run to the next building and find a (male) colleague who had no difficulty throwing him out, and no fear at all of leaving work alone later that night.
Male friends of hers who knew the man told her afterwards that she had nothing to fear. "He's an idiot, but he's not a threat," they said with kindly reassuring smiles.
How do they know this? From their vast experience of being a physically small woman alone in a room with a him? From their deep understanding of the way threatening men behave towards women when no other men are around?
And here's where we get to the #NotAllMen fallacy. Because, of course, not all men are dangerous. But some men definitely are, and they look exactly like the men who aren't.
So what are women to do in that situation? If we assume he's not a threat and we're wrong, the consequences could be catastrophic. If we assume he is a threat and we're wrong, the consequences could be that we got away from a creepy conversation and the man in question is left a bit confused by our sudden departure.
I know which one I'd choose.
The continuum of sexual violence, which starts with so called "jokes", escalates through cat calling, stalking, grabbing, assault, and finishes with rape and murder.
Almost all women (nine out of 10 women in Australia) have experienced street harassment and many of them recognise it as an expression of power and entitlement.
Some women may well have the strength and confidence to shake it off, think of it as nothing more than a problem in the men who do it, not a problem for the women who are the targets of it.
But far too many women know the deeper reality of male violence. Millions of Australian women have been subjected to physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. And all women who have been lucky enough to escape it themselves know women who haven't.
Almost all this violence was committed by men.
So it's not surprising that the implicit threat in any form of harassment is experienced by many women as the full threat. Nor is it surprising that this leads to depression and anxiety, as highlighted in the Journal of Public Health report.
Not every woman in our village has been tortured, but we all know at least one woman who has. It may not be all men, but it's difficult for all women to remain unafraid.
This story was written by Jane Gilmore under the title of 'How sexual violence harms all women, including non-victims' and has been copied from here.
Immediate access to support services is crucial to breaking the cycle of domestic violence, according to experts in the field.
The Sun sat down with two women working in front line services, Kerry Kent and Shristi Prasad, to discuss the problem in Blacktown.
The area has the highest reported rate of domestic violence in Sydney, and one of the highest rates in the state.
Ms Kent is the coordinator of the North West Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (DVCAS), an organisation that is the first to hear from police after every domestic incident they respond to.
Between Blacktown and Windsor, Ms Kent said they receive an average of 317 referrals a month.
Their work primarily involves helping with apprehended violence orders (AVOs), assisting victims through the daunting court system. Every client has the opportunity to talk to a solicitor for free.
For matters including housing and financial support, DVCAS refer clients to other services including Blacktown Women’s and Girls’ Health Centre.
Ms Prasad, an intake leader and counsellor at the centre, said they deal with many of the practical concerns of case management.
“If a client’s not getting that sort of support they can feel really stuck,” she said.
“They might feel like there isn’t much hope or much help out there, and it might impact on their mental health, their physical health and their safety.”
Ms Kent said one of the most difficult parts of the job is seeing the same victims come back again.
“It breaks my heart to see clients six, seven, eight times going through the same process over and over,” she said.
“I think they think that’s the norm. I think they’ve had abusive partners in the past and they don’t realise what’s a healthy relationship, and what’s acceptable or normal.”
The women agreed more funding was needed to help victims in the crucial time period following a violent outburst.
While clients in immediate danger get priority service, the average woman waits one to three weeks to see a counsellor – in which time they may have changed their minds.
“As a general rule, after an incident a woman is ready to leave,” Ms Kent said. “They want to hear what you can do. But as time goes on, if things aren’t put in place, it gives [the abuser] an opportunity to get her back on side.”
Ms Prasad explained the cycle of violence is different in every circumstance, but that many abusive partners could often move quickly from an ‘explosion’ to remorse and back to the ‘honeymoon phase’.
This article was written by Harrison Vesey and was copied from here.
Sometimes waiting in the Family Violence court, I just wonder, "How many victims are there really in a family violence case?" The answer can be elusive.
When I accept a pro bono family violence case, I meet the immediate victim, someone battered by a spouse, live-in lover, occasional lover or "just a friend." Often, the victim is raising a child or children. Each child sees one parent regularly beat the other.
How many victims are there in a family violence case? I add the original victim's and batterer's child or children. The batterer literally pounds cruel lessons home. The children learn them young, filing them in the backs of minds, to surface later. An impulse to beat or to let a batterer attack can lie in wait, until a threat, tantrum or argument triggers it.
I may add to the list of victims the original victim's nearby relatives and friends. Though full of advice and anger for their relative, it is hard for them to know what best to do. Even when offering help, they may mix in criticism of the apparent weakness of the victim. ("Didn't I tell you not to let X back in your home?") The victim will pay far better attention to such questions after he or she has been taken to safety than while the batterer is chasing him or her around or pounding his or head on the floor. Yet, the relatives, whether really helping or not, do feel their own share of the victim's shame and misery. They qualify for the list.
And while I won't call myself a victim in the same sense as those listed above, it is worthy of noting the vicarious trauma and stress of being an attorney of a domestic violence victim. Representing a battered person can pose challenges that differ from other domestic litigation.
When we meet, sitting between my client and me may be an invisible enemy, silently telling the client he or she is unworthy of help, too weak, too meek, too scared, too stupid, too paralyzed to tell me about the abuse or to accept help to get a restraining order. My client likely hears from this enemy repeatedly. I try to sense that enemy is there and to "answer" the silent insults to help my client. I may have to persuade the victim to reveal the full extent of the abuse received. Occasionally, I have a client who is not ready to see their case all the way through. Some want to believe that their batterers really love them (as they often promise they do) and just need to be understood and treated better by … their victims! Some believe the batterer will keep a promise to stop violence. They want to believe the best of a person they think they love, so they trust "promises." Maybe a good friend persuaded the client to file a case, but the client has misgivings about going forward. I must accept that a victim may not show up for court. He or she may feel too unworthy of help. These are the kinds of unique elements a domestic violence attorney must navigate in representing survivors.
The abuse sends out ripples, like a stone tossed into water. Each wave is a category of victims, affected in different degrees by the original attack.
But when I start to feel the stress of representing survivors of intimate partner violence, I remember that the survivor is the one actually living through these atrocities. I remember the Atlanta Volunteers Lawyers Foundation's staff in the Safe Families Office, who are patient and meet the cries for help with empathy and courage. I remember how AVLF supports me and my clients through the process. The rest of us can only be inspired and renewed by them. This helps make me a better person. And that is what prompts me to accept another case.
This article was written by Richard G Farnsworth and was copied from here.
A “safe room” for victims of domestic abuse has been set up in a Sydney shopping centre to enable women at risk to discreetly access help and advice.
The safe area has been established by the Lisa Harnum Foundation at Castle Towers shopping centre, in Castle Hill in the city’s north west, as part of its outreach program to help distressed women access help and advice.
Lisa Harnum Foundation Caseworker Linda Lemon said that domestic abuse operated at many levels and for many women the abuse was about control.
“We need to be very aware that women can be followed if they are in a very controlling relationship,” she said.
“Their partner will want to know where they are going, why are they going there and who did they meet.“Having a safe place in Castle Towers gives them the freedom and security to come and in talk about what they need to.
“This space is going to feel very safe for women. It’s better than meeting in a coffee shop.
“Every case is different but the first step is hard,” said Mrs Lemon.
Lisa Harnum Foundation founder Aileen Mountifield said it has always been Foundation’s aim to provide a “safe space” in a public place.
“(It) is discreet, safe and confidential,” she said.
“It is not a place that has signs on the door, nor windows to look in to. It is completely secluded and safe.
“As most women shop for groceries it is a normal place to visit on a regular basis.
“It is a normal activity. Not anything unusual.
“A woman can meet with our caseworker to discuss her situation.
“It might be that all the woman wants to do is talk.
“There is no pressure to move on, but if she does need information and professional support we can provide this too.”
Mrs Mountifield said for many women the first step in seeking help, created fear and anxiety, shame and guilt.
“Many women would not disclose to their friends in fear that they were not believed,” she said.
“(They) would also be reluctant to access a service that maybe too obvious because of signage on the door indicating it was a DV service, or there was lack of privacy, queuing in a waiting room. “
She said the free and discreet service was only possible through the support of the local community.
This article was written by Bev Jordan and was copied from here.
Jane Gilmore investigates the ways in which the media reports or, rather, doesn't accurately report on violence against women. Listen to her recent TEDx talk here.
Jane Gilmore investigates the ways in which the media reports, or rather fails to report, on men’s violence against women and then outlines we can make that much needed change.
Watch her TEDx talk here.