A Queensland mother forced into hiding after a police officer allegedly leaked her address to her abusive ex-partner is calling for the law to be changed to protect other victims of domestic violence.
The woman, who cannot be identified, immediately fled her home in April this year when she discovered the man accused of raping and torturing her had found out where she lived.
“My heart went into my throat and my body went cold,” she said on Saturday.
It is believed the man, who is on bail, asked a police officer for the woman’s address despite multiple warnings on the internal police system stating her contact details were not to be revealed to him.
The officer is being investigated by the Ethical Standards Command.
Liesl Wharton, spokeswoman for domestic violence support group Red Heart Campaign, said it was hard to believe the incident was an accident.
“These are not mistakes, these are not slip ups,” Ms Wharton said.
“Police can see that there is a note on the system that says do not supply this individual’s information to anyone and somehow this has been ignored.”
The woman’s case was only acted upon this week after she wrote to Police Commissioner Ian Stewart as well as Police Minister Mark Ryan and Domestic Violence Minister Shannon Fentiman.
She said a legislative overhaul was needed, given she had never shared her address with police and it was passed on to them from the Department of Transport.
“I don’t feel I can give my information to anyone in any position of power,” she said.
“I feel angry I’m not the only one this has happened to. This is not a one-off event.”
She has also called for the police officer involved to be stood down pending the investigation.
Mr Ryan said he had been reassured the woman was being offered extra support from the police domestic violence team while the investigation was under way.
“I expect our police to act with integrity and accountability at all times, particularly when it comes to dealing with victims of domestic violence,” he said.
Opposition spokeswoman Ros Bates said it was the third time this year a terrified woman had been forced to flee again because Labor’s domestic violence system failed to protect her.
She said legislation needed to be changed so victims’ details could not be readily accessed and shared throughout departments.
“It’s a recipe for another murder,” Ms Bates said.
- National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.