Domestic violence victim's AVO lapses as courts overloaded
A LAST-MINUTE switch from Murwillumbah to Tweed Heads Local Court was the last straw for a woman who had - for the first time in her 15-year relationship - reported her abusive husband to police.
Police requested the venue change for the 36-year-old professional woman, whose interim 10-day apprehended domestic violence order ran out before an application hearing could be set at Murwillumbah.
The mother of three, who is not named because the matter is before the courts, said after dropping her children at school, her "jaw clenched up and legs turned to jelly" with fear so powerful she shook, meaning she could not drive to Tweed.
"There was long-standing violence from the first week we got together," she said.
"It wasn't until work friends began to pick up on things like me saying I had 'gone over my budget' or I was 'allowed' to do something that it hit I had to leave.
"As the marriage broke up and he lost control, he started lashing out more publicly."
An assault in a public place left the woman "nervous, scared and humiliated", prompting her to finally apply for an AVO.
"There was a lot of self-doubt. I was not that 'type' for getting any AVO. It was hard to say 'it's not okay' and I felt horrible. I had let my kids down. It was just one more thing to drive to Tweed."
In the end, her lawyer drove her and the 12-month AVO was granted.
The woman has shared her story as part of a series of articles calling on the State Government to re-instate court sitting days at Murwillumbah Local Court and to call for a Tweed District Court.