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A Melbourne policewoman, seriously injured in the G20 riots and retired by an unsympathetic police force, has finally received a compensation payout for her injuries and the loss of her livelihood.
Kim Dixon, 44, has been awarded the sum for the injuries she sustained while working on the frontline during the G20 demonstrations in Melbourne in November 2006. Ms Dixon was injured when protesters threw a barrier at her, damaging her left arm, tearing tendons in her elbow, and leaving her with permanent emotional trauma.
After being unable to return to an operational policing role, Victoria Police sent a letter in the post to Mrs Dixon advising her that her position had been terminated in March 2009 due to ill health.
Mrs Dixon’s lawyer, Craig Sidebottom from Slater and Gordon, said Victoria Police should have taken better precautions to protect Ms Dixon both before and after her injury.
Mr Sidebottom said that Mrs Dixon was placed in a precarious position on the front line, without being provided with adequate protective clothing or equipment by Victoria Police. He also noted that plastic barriers at the protest had not been tethered down, or filled with water or sand.
“Police officers do face dangers, however Victoria Police are duty bound to ensure that their workforce is provided with reasonable protection and support,” he said.
Mr Sidebottom said he hoped the case would signal a clear warning to the police force to better protect their officers in the first instance, and to better treat them when and if they did suffer injuries while on duty.
Ms Dixon said losing her career was the final blow after sustaining serious injuries to her arm.
“I was in the police force for 24 years, and that’s all I’ve ever known,” Ms Dixon said.
“The police force was my life, it was my career, and it’s been shot down in flames.”
Ms Dixon said she was dismayed at the lack of empathy Victoria Police had shown her, despite sustaining her injury in the line of duty while protecting the community.
“The service let me down. They’re not supporting their members like they should, or like they said they would,” she said.
Mr Sidebottom indicated that while the settlement of Mrs Dixon’s claim would go some way to relieving some of her financial pressures, it would never erase the memories of that day or the manner in which she was terminated by Victoria Police.