My name is Carly Webb. I am writing to you because I wanted to ask your advice and I don’t know where else to go to get the right answer.
I was the victim of domestic and family violence in late 2016. At the same time as I had surgery for cervical cancer, my own mother, who has never been a supporter of mine, took myself and my sons’ father to the Federal Law Circuit wanting temporary custody of my son. She named me Respondent 1 and my sons’ father, Respondent 2. For quite a while I was unaware that the two of them were working together to take custody from me. For more than 2 years they stalked me, threatened me, there was further physical violence and a sexual assault by my ex-partner. I attempted to apply for further conditions on my Protection Order but was tormented so much by my mother and ex-partner so much I ended up in hospital following a panic attack and missed that appearance. I thought that not going through with the added non-contact conditions to the order that maybe this might result in them leaving me alone as the order was the original reason for my mother initiating family court proceedings. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
During that time, I lost my job as a medical typist which I held for 4 years prior to this. As a result of the issues, my mother and ex-partner caused at my workplace and me being too much hard work in needing so many days off for domestic violence and family court I was let go. I later became homeless due to the amount of damage done by my ex-partner to the home I lived in. I sadly have not worked since due to my mental health. This has come as a result of no one seeming to want to listen to me or choosing to ask me why I didn’t something as opposed to just helping me change the current situation as it is. Unfortunately, I see no real end in sight and if I had my time over, I would never have taken out the Protection Order because this is what happens when women try to leave.
In 2018 I reached a point where I could not take it anymore and I hung myself. Had it not been for a 12-year-old girl who noticed that I was strange that morning and made her mother come to check on me instead of her going straight to work then I would not be here. The fact that I was not being listened to by the court who were provided documentation for the entire duration of the case, left me feeling like the whole thing was hopeless. I provided detailed letters and documentation in the form of affidavits from domestic violence services, Victims Assist, GP’s, treating psychiatrist and psychologist outlining my deteriorating mental health, the fact that it had increased and who it was doing these things. I don’t feel like anything was read by anyone at the Federal Law Circuit and I wonder where their duty of care was? The one that haunts me to this day is the fact that they ignored my allegation concerning my ex. In 2016 and 2017 he sent me photos of his penis on our sons’ toys. I have made multiple reports to the Police, Child Safety and the Federal Law Circuit but no one has really taken me seriously. I put it as part of an affidavit and when it wasn’t picked up, I took the photos into court to show Judge Coates, but he told me the people make mistakes. All I asked was that he be supervised like I was until someone look into it but they never did and it was forgotten. I’m sorry but I personally have never put my vagina on a child’s toy. That behaviour is not normal, and I wonder if that is what he is willing to put out for the world to see then what is he hiding? Who he became in the later part of our relationship scared me and having to live with the fact that something might be happening to my son and there is nothing I can do about it is preventing me from getting better. It’s near broken me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t understand how the victim of domestic violence can be so alone. I realise that the court was concerned with my drug usage but I did not know how else to deal with what was going on and no one cared about me. I was honest about my side of the story the whole way through and that went against me. I don’t understand how a person who was also using drugs but lying about it, was violent and sends inappropriate photos of his genitals on his own sons’ toys can have the right to see him grow up but I am shunned? I have not have had contact with him for more than 2 years now.
I have written to the Attorney General which the Federal Law Circuit told me to direct my complaint to but they told me, “I would urge you to seek legal advice about your options and prospects for pursuing all matters as outlined above if that is what you wish to do.”, the Human Rights Commission who don’t deal with that kind of thing, Women’s Legal who told me they do not advise on this type of issue. I have spoken with Community Legal Groups, Legal Aid and the Law Society and literally been everywhere. I just want to be heard. I have never felt listened to. I can’t even be heard about not being heard. I wonder if it’s me? Maybe I am not worth as much as everyone else? I don’t really know? This year I want to go back into court but fear that the same thing will happen and next time no one will find me when I give up. Part of me thinks that if it comes to that again maybe it’s going to be the only way for anyone to take any notice? I don’t expect anything other than for the people who did this to me to begin with to not be allowed to do it again. I can’t get any of this time back and the more I am ignored the more time that is wasted. I just want a chance to be in my son’s life and for that to happen without being tormented by people who seem to derive a lot of pleasure from my pain. I do not wish to have them as part of my life for those reasons but the one thing I have learnt from it all is that I will never put that on my son. If he chooses to have his father and grandmother in his life then that is his choice. I have not learnt from my experience if I do the same thing they have done to me.
All I do know is the more I reach out for someone to help and told that it’s not something they deal with, the more reasons I have to go a different way about it. Unfortunately, that path guarantees I don’t get to see my son grow up. At least someone might finally take notice though and if there is something untoward happening, then that might be stopped. If that is the case, for me in the end it would have been worth it knowing he was safe. He is the love of my life because he is the only person that has loved me for me right from the day I met him.
His name is Evan. He was born on a Saturday and his favorite colour is blue. He is hilariously funny and awkward at times but ok with it. He is openly honest and beautifully kind. He isn’t the best singer but not afraid to do it in a room full of strangers which makes me the proudest because it’s not something I’ve never been confident to do. He is my best friend, and I was fortunate enough to have never spent more than overnight away from him for the first 6 years of his life.
He is the reason I started my company, Healthy Family Dynamics Pty Ltd. So I could help men and children affected by domestic and family violence. I think he would be proud of me just like I am of him.
Even if you can point me in the right direction for someone to help me. I just want the opportunity to spend time with my son and to not be the victim anymore. I just want to be Mum.
With many thanks