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  • A life torn apart
  • By GILL VOWLES
  • Sunday Tasmanian
  • 11/09/2005 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 47 articles in 2005 )
IN JUST one day Natalie McLean's life was torn apart.

"Four months later I am still picking up the pieces," Natalie said.

"I don't want sympathy, that's not why I'm telling my story. I just want to warn people what can happen to them under the Family Violence Act so that no one ever has to go through what I did."

Now living and working in Hobart, Ms McLean said she still couldn't believe that anyone had the right to stop consenting adults from contacting each other.

"Until this happened I would never have believed that in a country like Australia two adults who both want contact with each other can be denied that right by a court. "I had been with my partner for seven years and to be denied any contact with him for four months was absolutely gut-wrenching.

"It has changed my life totally and affected me physically and mentally. "I do understand the police and the court were trying to keep me safe but at the end of the day it should have been my choice. I was absolutely dumbstruck when this happened and I found out a court could remove my choice to speak to my partner who also wanted to speak to me."

Ms McLean said most of the damage had been caused by the four-month delay in getting the Family Violence Order varied.

"If the matter had been resolved in May when I applied to vary the order the effect would have been minimal.

"Instead, it's taken four months and thousands of dollars to unravel."

Ms McLean said, although she had been aware of the introduction of the new Family Violence Act, she had no idea of the effect it could have on peoples' lives.

"I really think the Attorney-General, Judy Jackson, needs to have a good look at the way the legislation is applied on the ground," Ms McLean said.

"I think she needs to sit down and speak to someone who has been through a family violence experience and think the whole thing through a little more." Ms McLean said her advice to the public was to be careful and think things through before acting.

"I keep thinking that if I hadn't gone with the police that night or if I had refused to speak to them all this would never have happened to us," she said.

"My faith in the police has been undermined by our experiences and it has caused us to think twice about ever seeking police help in the future."

Ms McLean said she and her partner had reconciled but he was still living in Queenstown.


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