Southern suburbs domestic violence victim lives in fear while waiting for restraining order approval

South East Metro Family and Domestic Violence Response Team taking part in white ribbon day. L-R: Christine Verinder, Sgt Phil Ward, Emma Collinson, Sarah Crawford, Senior Constable Rhona Yakacikli and Suzanne Harris. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d429399
South East Metro Family and Domestic Violence Response Team taking part in white ribbon day. L-R: Christine Verinder, Sgt Phil Ward, Emma Collinson, Sarah Crawford, Senior Constable Rhona Yakacikli and Suzanne Harris. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d429399

STALKED, abused, isolated: these are the feelings 41-year-old Sarah (not her real name) lives with.

Two-and-a-half years ago, the southern suburbs mother met a man who would change her life forever – but not in the right way.

One year into their relationship, he became abusive and controlling, isolated her from family and friends and abused her.

In the past 18 months, Sarah has had to move house three times and is fighting to get a violence restraining order after her first application failed.

‘He is a convincing liar and the magistrate believed he never threatened or abused me. He just denied it and was backed up by his mother,’ she said.

Her partner was ‘controlling’ and ‘very mentally abusive’ and she said he still tormented her. I got out but he keeps finding me,’ she said.

‘He knows where my mum lives and where I work and just follows me.

‘I nearly lost my job over it because he has been causing me so much stress. It is so draining.’

Sarah said the man screamed and knocked on her windows in the middle of the night and she would have to let him in so as not to break the windows of her rental.

She said she now lay on the floor when she thought she could hear or see his truck coming down the road, fearful he would see her through the windows, and the issue had caused her teenage son to become angry and withdrawn.

‘He is very protective of me but gets very upset,’ she said. ‘I don’t know how I can keep going on like this, [my ex-partner] has no regard for the law and broke the interim restraining order; it is causing me so much stress.’