Published on Tuesday 26, September 2017

Joe's Voice

Through IMCL's Health Justice Partnership, Joe received legal help to put in place an intervention that relieved him from family violence. This is his story, in his own words.

“I’ve got a brother … addicted to ice. And I don’t know which one’s worse -- my chronic pain or the ice. The health issue [is] an extremely chronic pain syndrome … The pain is beyond amputation. It’s horrific.

"I basicially had a nervous breakdown last year and I was admitted to hospital.

“While the doctors were treating me in hospital, I’ve got a brother, an older sibling, and he is extremely addicted to ice, and basically while I was in hospital he was ransacking the house, stealing everything and anything possible for drugs, including my cars.

“I basically told the doctors 'you’re sending me to a coffin’. He came at me with a tomahawk axe and I had to close my security door to stop it. A member of the public called the police, so you get the idea of how severe it is … it was toxic. It was like putting acid into your veins -- he was toxic.

“I live with my mother, she’s elderly. I could see that she was frightened, in her eyes. He [my brother] was bringing her to hospital, because she doesn’t understand very good English, and I said ‘under no circumstances do I want to see him in the ward, because I was coping with my own medical problems … I could see the pain in her eyes as she walked into the ward, and that was very difficult for me to deal with on top of my medical condition. So the social workers there contacted [IMCL].

“I got a one-year [intervention order], mum’s got a five-year, and my jaw dropped when she received that due to her frailness, because she’s 80 years old and she just wants to be left in peace like anybody else. But the heart-wrenching part about it is it’s still her son … Thank God he’s out [of the house] because he was an extreme hoarder -- that was the other big problem. The house was full of rubbish … sky high. And that’s been cleaned since.

"I hate to think what would have happened if Maie didn't come into the hospital. My mental health probably could have got much more dangerous ... If she didn't come in there, I don't know where I'd be -- maybe in a coffin. So, I can't thank them enough. She came in, she helped me ... She went out of her way to go to the Melbourne Magistrates' to make the intervention order ... I was in a wheelchair when she came in to help me, now here we are 12 months later."

To hear Joe in his own words and other HJP clients, listen to IMCL on the Law Report here