27 January 2011

Australian Judge lowers DV victim’s compensation because she is used to violence

WTF?  What in the hell was this judge thinking...WOW!  Apparently he isn’t.  Oh, and notice that the husband only served 8 months of a 2 year sentence to begin with.  That sentence seems low to begin with, only 2 years, for a violent incident that turned into a hostage stand-off when police arrived.

Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1350962/Battered-wifes-compensation-cut-used-violence.html#ixzz1CFyPp1Pw

Battered wife's compensation cut because she is 'used to violence'

By Richard Shears
Last updated at 3:59 PM on 27th January 2011

A terrified wife who had to lower her children from a window when confronted by her abusive knife-wielding husband has had her compensation pay-out cut by a judge because she was 'conditioned' to domestic violence.

The Australian judge said the woman, who was 26 at the time, had been subjected to violence in the past and suggested that because she was used to the abuse he agreed her compensation should be cut.

The decision has outraged domestic violence experts who said the Brisbane court's decision would only 'diminish' the woman's traumatic experience.

It was in 2006 that the woman and her children were confronted by her 36-year-old husband, who was wielding a knife.

A hostage stand-off developed when police arrived but the woman was able to hand her children out of a window.               

The District Court in Brisbane was told that the husband then pushed his wife into a bedroom door, injuring her shoulder.               

He was eventually arrested and pleaded guilty to deprivation of liberty and common assault and was jailed for two years, to be suspended after eight months.               

His wife, who has not been named, applied for criminal compensation and was awarded the equivalent of £13,000.

But lawyers for the Queensland government appealed and argued that the percentage of the maximum compensation for mental anguish should be reduced from 34 per cent to 20 per cent.               

Judge Jones said a 20 per cent reduction was justified, meaning that the woman will now receive £10,400.               

The judge said that unfortunately for the woman, the incident was one of a long history of domestic violence, resulting in her being conditioned to it by her husband.               

Because of her predisposition to post traumatic stress disorder, he agreed the 20 per cent reduction was justified.               

He noted, however, that the offences before him had pushed the woman over the edge.               

Domestic violence experts told Brisbane's Courier Mail that the cut-back was the latest case in which judges expressed concern that their hands were tied when awarding criminal compensation payments to people who had suffered domestic violence over a long period.               

Miss Diane Mangan, chief executive of the help-line DV Connect, said the decision to reduce the payout because of the woman's predisposition to mental stress from previous domestic violence served to diminish her traumatic experience.               

'It's almost like saying the years that you have suffered at the hands of your husband don't count,' she told the paper.

Australians have expressed outrage at the decision to cut the woman's compensation. 

'I just hope this judge never has a family member in a similar situation,' said one writer to a newspaper's online comment page.

'Where is the justice here?'               

One man said the Australian legal system is a colossal failure.

'When is this going to be fixed?' he asked. 'When are Australians going to get off their apathetic behinds and tell our local members, state and federal ministers that enough is enough.'

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