A MAGISTRATE has warned of the major harm done to children, no matter what their age, when they witness domestic violence.
James Fenech, 21, of Milltown Mission Road in Milltown, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to nine charges, including contravening a family violence order, criminal damage, reckless conduct endangering serious injury, assault with an instrument, driving in a manner dangerous and driving while suspended.
The court heard in March last year Fenech had an argument with his partner before he hit her with a barbecue cleaning tool. He then rushed at her with a kitchen knife.
The victim was sitting down and used her feet to prevent an injury. The couple’s daughter was present during the incident.
On another occasion Fenech smashed a windscreen and kicked over a letter box before doing a burnout with his partner and daughter in the car.
Fenech’s defence counsel said there was a breakdown in Fenech and his partner’s relationship and at the time of the first incident Fenech had substance abuse issues.
He said he was supported in court by his partner.
Magistrate Ron Saines said it was a serious example of domestic violence
Mr Saines said there was research which showed children who witnessed family violence had changes in their brain development, along with their overall development.
Fenech was convicted and placed on a 12-month community corrections order, which includes 75 hours of unpaid community work.
He must be assessed for drug and alcohol treatment and the men’s behavioural change program.
His driver’s licence was also disqualified for six months.