18. Legal Studies…
Liz and I had a talk about the toll that telling Mel and Grant took on me. From that conversation, I told her that I didn’t feel that I could do it again and there was still another mum, Lucy, that I hadn’t yet confided in, but who I was extremely concerned about.
This prompted Liz to contact the JIRT team and demand a meeting to ascertain who was responsible for conducting a risk assessment on the families that I had identified as being in constant contact with Jen and Leon.
This meeting ended up going all the way to the top of each department and my understanding was that it was decided that DOCs were to contact Lucy. At this point we were three and a half months AFTER the disclosure. I knew that Lucy was still seeing Jen.
The thing that we didn’t know before being victims of the “justice” system, is that victims effectively have no rights. By extension, the police investigators, too, are hamstrung by a system, that prioritises the “rights” of the accused, over the search for truth*.
One of the implications of this was that the police could not approach other potential victims- it’s nothing like an episode of Law and Order:SVU- for fear of contamination or concoction. However, I was able to tell my friends what was happening to my children, as that was our reality, and even though the investigators knew it was difficult for me, that was the only way that my friends would know. Unless the risk assessment was being done by DOCs.
The issue is that the defense can, and will, say whatever they want to try and discredit good people. This became very evident during the trial 2 years later, when I was made out to be some kind of lunatic who tricked her children, and others, into making up a story about Leon. It was deluded and was difficult not to take personally. But, within the confines of our current legal process, was within the bounds of acceptable practice.
So I waited for a phone call from Lucy. But…it never came. In my mind, I assumed that Lucy had been told there was a risk, decided for herself that the kids must have been lying and was continuing to support Jen and Leon. I had no way of knowing otherwise, unless I asked her directly.
*As I continue through this story, I will speak more about the legal process, the implications of the current process on investigation, the impact on victims and what I would recommend as appropriate change for the future.