Odette is on Gympie's domestic violence frontlines
I accidentally drove into the wrong driveway recently on a follow-up with a victim of domestic violence.
Out came another lady, older than the one I was looking for. "Hello," she said, "do you remember me?"
I looked and thought for a moment. Then it hit me: her name, her daughter, the acts of domestic violence her ex-husband had done to her about 12 years ago.
We had a long chat. She is a success story; her children are doing well at school, and she has moved on and is doing things for herself after 10 years of fear.
You see, there is life after domestic violence. I have worked in this town long enough now that I have women who come back and ask for me by name.
You may not think there is anyone you can turn to. I promise you there is. I will take action. I can get you counselling, accommodation or give good advice. You can be a success story too.
AMID the terror of domestic violence, Senior Constable Odette Reid is a lifeline for so many Gympie women.
While other officers investigate domestic violence incidents, Sen Con Reid paves the way for victims' recovery as the Domestic Violence Liason Officer.
With 23 years of police experience under her belt, she has just returned to the role in the last two months.
"I'm very passionate about it," Sen Con Reid said.
"I really believe intervention can work."
Her job is to liaise with community groups and services, coordinate the police response to domestic violence, and handle the "hard cases".
"I recently saw a girl who I would say had the worse facial injuries I've seen on an alive person in 20 years," she said.
"Her resilience was amazing, but with a massive facial injury like that, she was still downplaying it.
"Her partner ended up in jail, she's managed to relocate, and I've managed to link her in with some really good counselling and some really good support services."
Sen Con Reid wrote to the Gympie Times this week to share the story of a chance meeting with a former victim, revealing those suffering domestic violence can find happy endings.
"In this job as a general duties officer, you don't hear the resolution, you don't always hear what happened to somebody's case," Sen Con Reid said.
Police estimate half of domestic violence cases go unreported, and Sen Con Reid believes many of those incidents occur in high-profile households.
"They've got to preserve their appearance to the public or their appearance to their friends," she said.
"And often that domestic violence is high-end domestic violence, so it's really quite severe incidents."
For support, call Policelink on 131 44 or DV Connect on 1800 811 811.