MHDCD Project

6.4.2 Hannah

Hannah is an Indigenous woman now aged in her thirties. She has a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, anxiety and psychosis, behavioural disorders, has hepatitis C and a history of alcohol and drug abuse. Hannah experienced abuse and neglect in her childhood although spent no time in OOHC. She has three children.

Hannah had many contacts with police in her youth as both a victim and offender. Hannah was frequently in contact with police for offences including motor vehicle theft, property damage, drug detection, theft and aggravated assault with associated factors of alcohol or drugs. Between the ages of 15 and 17 Hannah had numerous juvenile justice custody episodes for periods of up to six months as well as juvenile control orders, and probation with and without supervision. Hannah has had 96 police contacts recorded, 33 of which relate to domestic violence and has had hundreds of days in both juvenile and adult custody. Hannah has served numerous short remand and prison sentences as an adult.

After the birth of her first child she and her baby became homeless. She lost her public housing when she had a number of custodial episodes during which she also attempted suicide and had a number of self-harm reports. When out of prison Hannah continued to experience dozens of domestic violence episodes resulting in 17 AVOs being taken out by Hannah against her partner and her partner against Hannah. In the majority of these contacts the police note that alcohol was involved. On one occasion police were called to Hannah’s place and found she had been seriously assaulted by her partner, and then arrested her for breaching community orders. On another occasion Hannah was evicted from a housing tenancy after her partner damaged the property, and soon after committed a serious offence and spent another year in custody. There were numerous reports by police to Community Services of a child at risk in the DV instances.

Hannah continues to move in and out of public housing, custody and homelessness. Hannah’s regular contact with police for DV related matters began just after the birth of her first child, and intensified following the birth of each subsequent child.  Police noted that Hannah is illiterate and this may assist in explaining some of her interactions with criminal justice and human service agencies; for example, her repeated offences relating to driving whilst unlicensed, and her lack of pursuing of AVOs on a number of occasions. There have been systemic failings to intervene and support her as a child and as an adult.

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