VSAC Statement 28.08.2020

A statement from the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council in response to changes to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act.

The Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council affirms the importance of the voices of victim survivors in shedding light on the impact of crimes and abuse on lives. 

We stand with victim survivors and advocates who feel silenced as a result of changes to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act. Your voices matter and we hear them.

The voice of lived experience, our voices, are helping to shape important family violence reforms in Victoria. By speaking up and sharing our stories – and our lives – it is our way of moving forward and creating positive change. 

We support the safety of victim survivors during court proceedings and respect victim survivors who choose to remain anonymous. But we also support victim survivors who choose to speak after court proceedings.

We call on the Victorian Government to take rapid and decisive action so that victim survivors may continue to own their stories, use their voices and choose their own paths.

#LetUsSpeak

Know my name; sharing my own victim impact statement

Last night I finished reading Chanel Miller’s incredible book “Know my name”.  Compelling reading that I encourage everyone to purchase.

I feel so connected to the author.

It made me reflect on my own journey in finding my voice.  Similarly the very first time I used my voice and told my story was also at the sentencing hearing against my abuser.

Today I dug out my own victim impact statement.  Not nearly as well written or powerful as Chanel’s but it is mine, and I too delivered it in court, in person, directly in front of my abuser, the first time in my life I felt I took back my power.

His sentence?  Extremely lenient.  Disappointed?  Yes.  But like Chanel, since that time I have used my voice, slowly finding my feet, making sense of what my daughter and I endured, and using my experience to help others.  And life today could not be better.  The feelings I had then, have not disappeared, but life is really good.  I do now know I am safe, I feel loved, and I am at peace.  And I am so very grateful for everyone who helped me get to this point.

Here is the final part of my victim impact statement that I read in court in front of my perpetrator back in 2016 that would like to share with you…

This was violent behaviour.

This is a constant disrespect for my right to feeling safe.

This was violence by a physically strong man, against a weaker woman.

This was family violence.

This was a man, whom I should have been able to trust to love me, protect me and keep me safe always, but especially in our home.

He betrayed me, he broke my trust, and destroyed my spirit.

No sentence given to ##### will ever be fair – because the scars he leaves me with are a lifetime’s worth.

While he will walk away from this – I walk away with my soul in pieces, and a life where I have to learn to live with an ever existent fear and anxiety for myself and my child’s safety, those feelings cannot be repaired, and are something I will always have to find ways to cope with.