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Labor MP reveals story of family violence

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016

For the first 13 years of her life, Emma Husar was forced to watch her always-drunk father physically abuse her mother.

Her dad was the son of a WWII German soldier who was frequently violent towards his own wife and seven children.

"Whilst the blows that landed on my mother during my childhood didn't land on me physically, they may as well have," the Labor MP told parliament through tears on Wednesday.

"The trauma inflicted was the same. I recall it vividly and in great detail."

Ms Husar, in a powerful speech on family violence, said each episode ended the same - her father would apologise and promise to be different.

But that would only last a short while.

One night, he threw the family dinner at a wall.

"That stain remained on the wall for a very long time, but the stain in my heart lingered much longer."

Her mother would bundle both her and her sister into the car and fled to refuges in Sydney's west, but after so many incidences her father found out where they were.

They were then forced to go to hotels above pubs.

One night, when in a hurry to escape, her father removed and smashed the car's distributor cap - rendering it useless and the trio trapped.

"The police fetched us this time," she said.

"I still remember sitting in the police station well into the early hours of the morning and the officers of Penrith police giving us pink milk while we waited."

Like many women, her mum returned home.

She eventually left, but not before one last terrible incident.

"There were 13 police cars the last time physical violence affected my childhood, but this was the end of physical violence once and for all."

Ms Husar revealed that, for the past 16 years of her life, domestic violence has continued to affect her as a grown women with her own children.

She thanked Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Labor caucus and staff for their support and understanding.

"For many years I was embarrassed and I was ashamed," she said.

"I know that I shouldn't be, but I am. I hope that today I have lent my voice, my story, my passion for advocating for change to the choir of the White RIbbon movement to stand up, speak out and to act."

Mr Shorten said he was proud of remarkable women like Ms Husar.

He said Ms Husar's sharing her story would help and empower others to open up about their experiences.

"But for you, I don't think the cause would have advanced as far as it did this afternoon," Mr Shorten told an Our Watch event in Parliament House later that evening.

"But for you, we wouldn't have heard the voices of women, kids."

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