Bee filed a complaint over sexually explicit texts. She says police then gave the man her home address


Bee Banks went to the Southbank Police Station in Melbourne last year because she was worried about her safety at work and she trusted police to protect her.Key points:Bee Banks says she felt threatened by sexually explicit text messages she was sent by a man she briefly met at workShe lodged a complaint with police, but says officers sent the man her home address in court documentsVictoria Police has launched an investigation into the issue, after being contacted by the ABC”During lockdown, when I would go out in my 5-kilometre radius and I would see police, I would be the first person to thank them for their presence, for being there and protecting us,” she says.But Ms Banks says that trust has been shattered by the experience she has had with police in the past five months.”I don’t feel that I am protected by them, particularly giving out my address,” she says.The texts that made Ms Banks feel unsafeMs Banks met the man she made a complaint against through work late last year.The real estate agent showed him through two apartments he said he was interested in buying.She stopped communicating with him when she thought he wasn’t a serious buyer.Sexual assault and family violence support lines:Ms Banks became so alarmed by what happened next that she reported the incident to police.In a submission to a hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, police told the court that two text messages were sent to Ms Banks from the man that were of a “sexually explicit nature”.Ms Banks says the texts described “in graphic detail what he wanted to do to me”.In one of the texts, Ms Banks says the man wrote about wanting to “hold me up against a wall in those empty apartments and do really awful things to me”.In her statement to police, Ms Banks said she was worried because the man had been trying to book further inspections with her in empty apartments.Police suggest it was ‘random drunk texts’Ms Banks says when she told her work about the text messages, her managers took the matter seriously and supported her the entire time.But she felt her concerns were not taken seriously by the police officer assigned to her case.He called Ms Banks after she had made her statement.Ms Banks says she was told by the officer that the man acknowledged he had sent the texts but disputed their intent.Ms Banks says the officer told her it was a case of “just some random drunk texts” being sent.She disagreed with that summary of events — she says the texts were articulate and sent in the morning. Ms Banks says her experience with police left her traumatised.(ABC News: Ron Ekkel)The officer asked another question that still upsets Ms Banks.”I was asked whether I had done anything to encourage those texts,” she says.”I felt really disappointed that the police would ask me a question like that.”Really, really disappointed and again, it was another slight where they did not have my back in this matter.”Ms Banks says she made multiple requests to have another officer deal with her case, but was rebuffed each time.’Yes, he will have the address’Ms Banks’s matter went to the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this year and an intervention order was put in place.It requires the man to stay away from Ms Banks and not contact or stalk her for the next two years.But it was right before that court hearing that Ms Banks noticed her home address appeared on documents police had prepared for the courts.The documents were intended for Ms Banks and the man accused of sending the text messages.Ms Banks says she became “highly anxious” when she saw her address appear on the documents.She tried to clarify what had happened with the police officer involved.”I do have a concern … i.e. my address is stated on the paperwork, even though it has been ticked as confidential,” she wrote in an email to the officer.Ms Banks asked if her address had been sent to the man.Hours later she emailed the officer again saying: “Please respond to my email from this afternoon as feeling very uneasy.”The officer replied later that day, telling Ms Banks her address had been sent out.”Yes, he will have the address as the document is a mirror image of the document you received.”Ms Banks took her concern to a more senior police officer at the station.He told her it was “likely” her address was not sent out, but said he would find out what had occurred.That officer emailed her a second time after reading the comments from the junior officer.He told Ms Banks if her address had been sent out “it was a mistake” and she could make a complaint.Ms Banks says neither officer has apologised.Police launch inquiry After the ABC contacted Victoria Police, it released a statement saying the matter had been referred to Professional Standards Command.”We are taking the matter seriously,” the statement said.Victoria Police did not respond to any of the ABC’s questions about what occurred, stating: “As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot provide further comment at this time.” Ms Banks feels the courts took her concerns seriously, but police officers did not.(ABC News: Ron Ekkel)Ms Banks says she is still dealing with the fallout from the whole experience to her own life.Weeks after going to the police, Ms Banks resigned from her job.She loved working as a real estate agent but no longer felt safe.”I had an experience where I was taking two males up to see an apartment and we had our masks on and I was so traumatised that I dry-retched into my mask,” she says.The fear spilled over into the rest of Bee’s life.”Anybody on the street that resembled his [the man’s] stature, I would have terrible panic attacks,” she says.And Ms Banks says the way she was treated by police added to her stress levels.”I probably wouldn’t go to them with a complaint again — it has been just as traumatic as the actual event.”

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