Article Title:Attacked and dismissed: a gay Aussie's warning
Category:True Stories
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:12th October 2013 - 10:51 am
Published by:GayNZ.com
NDHA link:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/ArcAggregator/arcView/frameView/IE28141248/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/36/article_14041.php
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Story ID:14041
Text:Zac (right) with his Kiwi partner Justin Zac Damelian was sexually assaulted in a Melbourne public toilet block, and then met with ridicule when he reported it at a nearby police station. He tells GayNZ.com more. Damelian was brutally attacked in a public toilet in Johnstone Park, Geelong, just over two weeks ago, while his partner waited outside. When he managed to escape, he went straight to a police station that was close by, but was then told to call 000 for police to be dispatched as the officers there could not leave the building. They also told him they couldn’t get on the “bat-phone” to arrange a police response straight away. While he did call 000, by the time police went to the scene, the offender was gone. To add insult, a senior officer later told a local newspaper that Damelian must have thought he was at a fictional police station in TV show Blue Heelers, expecting police to run out of the station to chase the attacker. “I have never been more insulted having my attack compared to a fictional television program, which to add was a gross over estimate of the Victorian Police's ability to function in the community,” he tells GayNZ.com. “As a former nurse and paramedic I would personally have resigned if I treated my patients in such a way. Even the response of police being well over twenty minutes to a sexual attack is utterly incompetent considering the station, being police headquarters for the region, was 200 metres away.” Damelian says he is well versed in emergency service response. “I ran to the station for safety and to report that I was attacked and that my partner currently had the attacker under visual watch. I was in no state to call 000 but to be directed to go outside, which would be in the same direction of the attack, was completely incompetent. “I was also belittled and treated like a dog when calling 000. Do these Police forget their responses are recorded?” The Melbournite says police have continued to be very non-supportive. A victim impact statement was only taken this week, 12 days after the attack. “Of course with all forensic evidence now not available for collection nor evaluation due to the scene protocols being broken.” GayNZ.com was first contacted about the story by Damelian’s partner Justin, a Kiwi, who says the response has been atrocious. “This reaction from the police in Australia has been nothing but disgusting, insulting and dara I say quite heart-breaking for us both,” the Christchurch man says. Damelian says the support of his partner has helped, and he has taken up counselling he has been offered. However he has some advice for New Zealanders visiting Melbourne, with the man who attacked him still roaming free: “My advice to New Zealanders is to ensure they call 000 and get to a place of safety immediately. I would also report it to the New Zealand Embassy to ensure you get your rights protected, because clearly the Victorian Police cannot protect the rights of their own people,” he says. “New Zealander's can really help by bring this to the attention of the gay community in general. Being our loved neighbour I would hate for this to happen to any man, women or child visiting my normally beautiful and safe country. “New Zealand clearly have better rights and understanding that we as gay people have the same emotional and constitutional rights, I am sure they will be outraged, disgusted and provide support to someone who deserving of basic human rights.” (Anyone can email their complaints or comments to geelong.uni@police.vic.gov.au) Damelian is currently looking at what legal avenues he can take to seek compensation. “There is a current internal affairs investigation but after all police investigating police will get nowhere,” he says. On a brighter note, the couple plans on a trip to New Zealand at some time in the near future to get married.     Jacqui Stanford - 12th October 2013
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