The officer went to her house, bringing with him a female police officer, and they began collecting evidence of the break in and the rape. They offered to bring her to the hospital, to which she agreed to, and so she left with them, leaving her children with her father in their house. It was while she was at the hospital that her husband, Neung, had returned to their house and attacked her father and children. Ingrid recounted her ordeal as she returned to their house from the hospital only to find her children and father dead, and her husband fatally wounded.
She said that she still could not believe that Neung could do such a thing. She remembered that he had threatened to kill her before, and that he would hunt her down and find her if she ever tried to leave. The day he had broken into their house and raped her, her first instinct was to get her children into her car and drive as far away as she could. What stopped her was her belief that he would indeed hunt her down and find her no matter where she went.
Ingrid sought to make something good out of her ordeal, and honor her father and her children. Years after that incident took the lives of her children, Marlee and Bas, and her father, Pete, Ingrid had lobbied to change in system so that domestic violence could be seen and responded to the way it should be. She stated that there already had been changes in the AVO laws and the way AVO orders are carried out. She reiterated her belief that the police need to be trained and educated in terms of handling domestic violence cases.
Emotionally-charged situations like that need to have responders who will sit down and listen, validate information, and understand the reality and truth in the fears expressed by those affected. Ingrid strongly upheld her belief that the police should be aware of the fact that domestic violence is a serious crime, and that violent behavior is very rarely, if at all, redeemable. If the police realize this, then they should be able to discern when concern is needed and when to better exercise their powers in protecting the people they serve.
Ingrid admitted that the police are often faced with problems when dealing with domestic violence cases. Many people, mostly women, would decide against pressing charges against their abusive partners, or a family member who has assaulted them. This is because they are motivated by their love and concern for that family member, as well as their hopes of protecting them and seeing them redeemed for their violent behavior. This, however, does not mean that the police cannot take action – they can still follow up on the incident and press charges against the assailant without waiting for the violence to escalate any further.
Janice Poulson, Ingrid’s mother, recalled the inquest proceedings and found that it had been one blundering episode after another, from the wrong classification of the first reported violence incident by the police, to the time when police came to interview Ingrid and her father after the AVO breach was reported. She expressed her sentiment about the police not having followed any correct procedure in handling the whole situation right from the beginning, especially with the AVO breach that Ingrid’s father had reported, and having talked to Ingrid about not taking things too seriously and just talking to her husband about the AVO.
Janice also recalled a police officer telling Ingrid that domestic violence was just “a bunch of crap paperwork. ” The police had shown utter disregard for the previous incidents that led to the escalating violence, including the absolute disregard for the law that Ingrid’s husband showed by breaking the AVO a number of times. Janice believed that the police were trying to cover up their mistakes by saying there was no record of the AVO breach being reported.
Ingrid affirmed that she sought to see that the police are trained and educated on how to handle domestic violence cases, rather than punishing the police officers who had messed up in treating her case. She wanted to see attitudinal change among police officers in that they would realize how threatening and serious domestic violence indeed is, and that they would learn how to respond to the needs for protection and assurance of the aggrieved parties.