Chasm Creek woman Deb Thomson is no stranger to sharing her story of harrowing family violence.
In 2018 she released her first novel Whose Life is it Anyway?: Recognising and Surviving Domestic Violence, a memoir on a 17-year relationship typified by life shattering family violence.
Just over three years later, she is releasing a follow up to that novel, Whose Life is it Anyway?: Leaving a Violent Abuser.
Thomson said, after releasing her first novel, she had gained the confidence to spread her story to a wider community and has become a powerful advocate against family violence in Tasmania.
In her advocacy she has helped to maintain an ongoing conversation about the severity and nuance of family violence culminating in a recent bipartisan commitment in Tasmanian parliament to legislating against non-fatal strangulation.
The first novel was based on journals Thomson kept during her relationship with her abuser, the second is about the comparably difficult journey she had to take, with her three children, to get away from him.
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"The second book focuses on my experiences after our escape from the abuse and uncovers family law court access and processes," she said.
"These processes escalate the perils experienced by children of an abusive parent when they are ordered to have contact with that parent.
"I point out the pitfalls of the family law court as experienced by the abused parent. I was just attempting to get my three children safe from harm."
Thomson focuses on the incongruences that she found existed between the family court and a growing groundswell of discussion about coercive control and family violence.
"When I was going through court until 2009 I was told by the court that my abuser could have access to our children because the cause of his behaviour, namely myself, had left home," she said.
When I was going through court until 2009 I was told by the court that my abuser could have access to our children because the cause of his behaviour, namely myself, had left home.Deborah Thomson, family violence survivor and author.
"The court told me that this meant the children were safe. It was unbelievable really."
In explaining the difficulties she faced navigating the Tasmanian legal system when attempting to flee family violence with her children, Thomson said her book should resonate with others in a similar situation, and potentially aid them as they face the same barriers to freedom.
Although, like her first book, Thomson said her second novel could work to "impress upon those in power and the public the importance of systemic change across the family law court system".
"I'm hoping that people who read the book understand the adversarial environment in the family law court that doesn't really take into the abuse a parent has experienced, nor the effect it has on children who live in that abusive environment," she said.
"What I'm saying to readers after they've read my book is, 'you be the judge'."
What I'm saying to readers after they've read my book is, 'you be the judge'.Deborah Thomson, family violence survivor and author
With the impact of her first book still apparent, the importance of the cultural dialogue her second book could incense is evident.
Thomson continues to advocate for the rights of family violence survivors. She said her first book enabled her to engage in advocacy, and said her involvement would hopefully inspire others.
"It's hopefully showing other survivors that they can move forward as well. I think if I can, then they will move forward as well," she said.
Whose Life is it Anyway?: Leaving a Violent Abuser took Thomson about a year to write and it is due for formal release in Hobart on June 30.
Thomson, who relies on a disability pension as a result of the abuse she suffered, is raising money to cater for the costs of publishing the book. Details can be found online here.
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