Known as Person A, Yvonne Berry has finally broken her silence to speak up regarding the incident when she was sexually harassed in Ballarat prison.
It was previously reported that a CCTV camera captured a woman being stripped, stomped on and hit in the prison. She decided to reveal her story publicly and fight back against the exploitation done to her by her colleagues. Berry took leave from her policewoman job. It was at that time in January 2015 when she was sexually assaulted. According to reports, the police officers who abused her in Ballarat prison were not aware of Berry’s policewoman job.
“If that’s not why they were nasty to me, then they were just … nasty to a member of the public, which is worse,” she told ABC 7.30 program. “It could happen to anyone — and I’ve since found out that it did, and it does.”
Berry had faced criminal charges laid by the local police department, including accusations of resisting arrest and intervening with the good order of a jail. Following the allegations, Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission launched an investigation in 2015. However, the charges on the woman were withdrawn in August, which indicated that they should never have been laid, The Age stated.
It is believed that the police will seek advice from prosecutors to decide if the officers involved in the crime should face criminal charges. In addition to the alleged charges laid on Berry, there were some severe mental health issues, which she suffered from. She attributed the cause of the mental illness to official internal affairs work as well as the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.
The two police officers alleged to have sexually assaulted Berry at the Ballarat prison have returned to work. Professional Standards Command superintendent Tony De Ridder said that it was “a total lack of leadership” at the police station that led to such treatment of a woman.