“No taxpayer” would argue it shouldn’t be free.
“No taxpayer” would argue it shouldn’t be free.

Wrong to make abuse victim pay for her 000 recording

A SOUTH Autstralian woman crushed between bunk beds and a wall by her violent ex-husband - in front of her children - has been made to pay to request a recording of her panicked triple-zero call.

The 32-year-old mother of three, who does not want to be named, says she feels "utterly let down" and wants "a much simpler process" for victims to obtain information from government about their cases.

Former MP Duncan McFetridge said "no taxpayer" would argue it shouldn't be free.

Outgoing Commissioner for Victims Rights Michael O'Connell, Dr McFetridge - who employed the woman we will call Bianca* - and Opposition police spokesman Lee Odenwalder have supported her call.

Outgoing Victims Rights Commissioner Michael O'Connell.
Outgoing Victims Rights Commissioner Michael O'Connell.

It was only after inquiries from The Advertiser that SA Police contacted Bianca to offer her a recording of the terrified call for help in November.

But Bianca said it "shouldn't be this hard" for victims of crime and she was exhausted by the seven-month process.

 

 

The recording is understood to capture her ex-husband breaking through a bedroom door and ramming her against a wall using a set of bunk beds, breaking her ribs.

He was fined for property damage but charges of aggravated assault were dropped.

The recording was not used by police prosecuting her case.

Bianca wants a copy to prevent her abuser from seeking custody of the children in the Family Court.

"No one with a heart could listen to that triple-zero call and not believe that the children and I thought we were about to die," she said.

"You need to hear the sound my children made. They were screaming, howling."

Dr McFetridge said domestic violence victims should "not have to endure more stress by having to deal with bureaucracy" to obtain documents.

Former MP Duncan McFetridge.
Former MP Duncan McFetridge.

Mr Odenwalder said these victims should be automatically offered free access to triple-zero recordings so they are not "further traumatised by unnecessary bureaucracy".

Mr O'Connell, who will leave the Commissioner for Victims Rights role next month, agreed the process should be free and painless.

Bianca first applied by email in February to the Federal Government department which holds triple-zero recordings. She received no response and followed up in June, when she was told to submit a Freedom of Information application, at a cost of $34.25, to SA Police, with no guarantee and the possibility of further costs.

The State Government has said it is a matter for SA Police.

In contrast, while in Opposition the Liberals criticised the former Labor government for telling a woman whose son was raped at school that she would have to pay to request a copy of an Education Department report into the incident.

Liberal MP David Pisoni labelled it "extraordinary'' at the time.

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