NA­TION’S VI­O­LENT SHAME

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH -

By the end of to­day, there will have been 650 or more re­ported in­ci­dents of do­mes­tic violence across Aus­tralia.

That shame­ful fig­ure be­gins Sarah Fer­gu­son’s har­row­ing two-part ABC doc­u­men­tary Hit­ting Home, which goes to the heart of a na­tional cri­sis.

Fer­gu­son spent a stag­ger­ing six months fully im­mersed in the story, com­ing face-to-face with what she calls “the devil that lives among us”.

“The key was to in­volve my­self in this world — with women, with pris­on­ers, in the courts, out with po­lice … to live with it and not just visit for an af­ter­noon,” she ex­plains.

So in June, Fer­gu­son moved into a women’s refuge — a tiny camp bed in the man­ager’s of­fice her tem­po­rary home — to spend time with abuse vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.

Fer­gu­son says she felt anger watch­ing bat­tered women be­ing sub­jected to ag­gres­sive cross-ex­am­i­na­tion from their for­mer part­ners’ lawyers.

“Peo­ple are en­ti­tled to a ro­bust de­fence but some of that stuff made me mad,” she says.

There was also sad­ness when she lis­tened to chil­dren.

“They’ve grown up with it. They know what it is.

“And I found that ex­tremely sad.”

HIT­TING HOME AIRS TUES­DAY AND WED­NES­DAY NEXT WEEK, ABC, 8.30PM

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.