Victims' mothers still fearful

Police attend the scene of a domestic incident. Photo from ODT files.
Police attend the scene of a domestic incident. Photo from ODT files.
The Dunedin mothers of two women who nearly died at the hands of their male partners still fear for the safety of their children.

The mother will never forget the sight of her daughter battling for her life in Dunedin Hospital.

She been stabbed multiple times and, when the blade snapped, a tomahawk was used, which exposed part of her brain.

Only as she started to recover did the mother discover what had been going on behind closed doors.

''She wasn't allowed to have a life. She had left her job, sold her car, wasn't allowed to visit friends in case males were present, had her Facebook and textbooks vetted ... it was totally controlling.

''He was just paranoid she was off doing something.''

The family now face the ordeal of regular parole hearings, fearing one day the perpetrator will be back on the street.

The same fear is with another Dunedin mother, whose teen daughter was beaten, choked and stabbed.

Before the incident, which continues to impact on her daughter and family, she did not know much about the signs of domestic violence.

''I hadn't read about the Sophie Elliott case until such time as it happened to my own daughter, and then you think: Oh my gosh, why didn't I read up on this earlier.''

She supported more open dialogue about domestic violence, particularly for adolescents.

Her daughter was also making progress but the family still feared the eventual release of her attacker, she said.

''I am just grateful she is alive.''

-hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz


Recent cases
A selection of domestic violence cases reported in the Otago Daily Times in July-August this year.

July 16: A 22-year-old sentenced to eight months' home detention followed by six months' postdetention conditions for threatening to kill and intentionally injuring his partner. Described by judge as ''a vicious assault resulting in serious injuries''. Had been using synthetic cannabis.

July 16: A 41-year-old convicted of assaulting partner with intent to injure after finding out about affair. Grabbed and pulled his genitals, resulting in small cut and bleeding. Remanded for sentencing on July 29.

July 16: A 54-year-old admitted assaulting partner with intent to injure. Head-butted and punched her, pulled out clump of hair, accused of having an affair. Remanded for sentence August 21.

July 18: A 45-year-old admitted Summary Offences Act assault on his partner on February 5 and assaulting a female (his partner) and assaulting her with a cellphone on April 15. Convicted on all charges. Remanded for sentencing August 21.

July 23: A 28-year-old sentenced to 41 months' jail for three convictions for assault with intent to injure and two of intentional damage. Punched, kicked, head-butted, picked up and threw his partner over three occasions.

July 23: A 35-year-old sentenced to eight months' jail for assault on a woman with whom he had previously been in a relationship. Had previously been convicted of assaulting the same woman.

July 23: A 27-year-old received four months' home detention and 100 hours community work for assaulting partner. Grabbed hair and rammed her against cupboards, punched her twice and kneed her in the side while she was on the floor. (Was also convicted of dishonesty offences.)

July 25: A 24-year-old got five months' home detention for assault on former partner. He grabbed her hair and shook head around while driving and slammed her arm in car door. Six months post-detention conditions and compulsory counselling.

August 2: A 38-year-old struck partner twice in jaw during drunken argument. 100 hours community work, nine months' supervision.

August 6: A 26-year-old drove car at partner in supermarket car park, narrowly missing her. Followed her out of car park and drove his car at hers, swerved at the last minute. Sentenced to concurrent terms of four and five months' home detention, $1605 reparation.

August 7: A 23-year-old sentenced to five years and seven months' jail (non-parole period 3 and a-half years) for intentionally causing grievous bodily harm. Beat partner so severely her right eye had to be removed.


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