‘I could hear her screams’: Police dispatcher suing state
TRIGGER WARNING: This story discusses extreme domestic violence. If it raises issues for you, help is available with contact numbers detailed within the article.
CHONDRA Jansen says she will never forget taking the triple-0 call from a desperate young mother screaming for help as she was about to be murdered by her ex-partner.
"It was a terrible call. I just felt so helpless and then to see how it played out, it was just heartbreaking,'' Ms Jansen, a former civilian Queensland Police emergency call dispatcher said.
Ms Jansen was the last person to speak to Tara Brown before her bikie ex-partner ran her off a Gold Coast road and beat her with a piece of metal while she was trapped in a wrecked car.
In 2017, Lionel Patea was jailed for life for the brutal 2015 murder of Ms Brown, 24.
Ms Jansen, 50, is now suing the State for $615,572, claiming the lack of support she received from Queensland Police Service after that call resulted in her suffering post traumatic stress.
"When I was on the phone I heard the crash. I just kept calling to her 'Tara, Tara'. I was hoping she could hear me,'' Ms Jansen said.
"It's with me every day. I can replay every moment.
"She was distraught. I was trying to find out where she was. She was telling me her partner was threatening her with a knife.
"The next minute he'd just run her off the road. I could hear her screaming. I just prayed she would talk to me, but she couldn't.
"It was 40 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime to me.''
Ms Jansen heard a loud crash and thumping sounds before Ms Brown was no longer responding, but was able to send emergency services to her location, her claim says.
Ms Jansen could see large screens revealing what was happening to Ms Brown but was only advised by a duty officer not to watch the screens and to go for a walk, her claim says.
The next day, after taking a triple-0 call about a man threatening to attack his partner with a knife, she asked to come off the roster for triple-0 calls but was only taken off for two days.
About two months later, an upset Ms Jansen could not go to work after seeing TV news footage about the pre-trial hearing into Ms Brown's murder.
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Her claim says she was not offered Human Services Officer support and there was no welfare check on her.
Ms Jansen claims when she returned to work she was confronted by TV screens showing news reports, including CCTV footage and re-enactments related to the murder.
It was only after she asked to speak to someone about how she was feeling that Ms Jansen was offered weekly human services support, while still having to take triple-0 calls.
Ms Jansen suffered post traumatic stress disorder and a major depressive disorder and was unable to work for 15 months, her claim says.
She now works with QPS as an acting executive secretary on reduced income.
"I never knew of a murder that has taken place while a person was on the phone,'' Ms Jansen, a QPS communications operator for 18 years, said.
Lawyer Beth Rolton of Maurice Blackburn said Ms Jansen was provided with no support after receiving one of the most horrific calls anyone could experience.
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Ms Rolton said it was important for workplaces to follow their own policies for helping workers exposed to critical incidents and traumatic events.
The State Government is yet to respond to the personal injuries damages filed on Thursday in the District Court.