Why police didn’t investigate Dokic abuse

TENNIS Australia has revealed that officials reported their concerns about Jelena Dokic's welfare to police at the time she has alleged she was suffering traumatic abuse at the hands of father Damir.

As Australia reacted with shock to the tennis star's horrifying allegations, the sport's governing body said people had lodged police complaints - but without cooperation from those involved, they could not be fully investigated.

The former World No. 4 has revealed she suffered physical abuse as a child and teenager almost every time her father was displeased with her performance on the tennis court.

In a new book with The Sunday Telegraph's Jessica Halloran published by Penguin Random House Australia, Dokic said the beatings were part of a calculated strategy to turn the former Wimbledon semi-finalist into the world's best player.

Anything else was unacceptable in the eyes of the man who has previously been branded the "tennis dad from hell".

Dokic's revelations in the new book, titled Unbreakable, include:

- She was knocked unconscious during one beating at the hands of her father

- She was regularly beaten with a belt and a hard-capped boot

- She was regularly verbally abused and labelled a "whore" by her father; and

- She was made to try to find a place to sleep somewhere at the Wimbledon courts after her semi-final loss in 2000 after being told she was not allowed to sleep in the family hotel room - which her tennis career was funding.

Australian basketballer Andrew Bogut said Dokic's story was "absolutely brutal to read".



Co-host of Channel 10's The Project Carrie Bickmore praised Dokic for her courage in sharing her "harrowing" story, as did esteemed Aussie tennis coach Darren Cahill.



Tennis Australia said in a statement released on Sunday afternoon that concerns had previously been raised about Dokic's welfare but a lack of cooperation from all parties meant they could not be fully investigated.

"All of us at Tennis Australia applaud Jelena's courage in telling her story and will continue to support her in any way we can." Tennis Australia said in a statement.

"There were many in tennis at the time who were concerned for Jelena's welfare, and many who tried to assist with what was a difficult family situation.

"Some officials even went as far as lodging police complaints, which without cooperation from those directly involved, unfortunately could not be fully investigated.

"Over the past ten years tennis has been constantly improving and updating policies to increase protection for children.

"Tennis Australia is working closely with the Australian Childhood Foundation to strengthen the safeguarding of children across the sport."

Former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis said "serious questions" need to be asked of the people in charge of tennis for this alleged abuse to happen to a star of the sport, saying a duty of care needed to be exercised.

"It was such distressing reading. I was sitting on the plane this morning trying to read it and trying not to cry as I was reading it," Ellis said on Channel Nine's Sports Sunday.

"I reckon fairly serious questions have to be asked of the people in charge of tennis because she was in a changeroom.

"One of the things she says in the excerpts was that she didn't have any part of her back that wasn't covered in cuts and bruises because he (Damir) used to make her take her shirt off and he used to beat her with his belt.

"So, you know what it's like in a changeroom ... you get your gear off. Someone must have seen it."

Speaking on the same program, ex-Australian cricketer Michael Slater said the revelations were so distressing he couldn't read the entire story and called on Tennis Australia to investigate the matter.

"I couldn't finish that article, it was so disturbing," Slater said.

During the program both Ellis and Slater questioned what Tennis Australia was doing to ensure things like this never occur again.

Jelena Dokic’s ugly accusations against her father Damir have shocked Australia.
Jelena Dokic’s ugly accusations against her father Damir have shocked Australia.

Weekend Sunrise co-host Monique Wright called Dokic a "remarkable person" for going public with her story while former TV newsreader Ron Wilson, who now reads the news on Smooth FM, expressed disbelief at the trauma she had to face day in, day out.

"Imagine waking up every day in total fear of the people you expect to love and nurture you and that sort of violence," Wilson told Channel Seven.

Dokic was a polarising figure in Australian sport. As Bogut alluded to, she wasn't always shown the admiration reserved for so many athletes Down Under as the public struggled to warm to her, no doubt in part because of her father's antics.

WSFM breakfast radio host Brendan Jones said these allegations make that lack of connection another sad layer on top of what is already a tragic story.

"I feel for Jelena because everyone turned on her as well," Jones said on Weekend Today. "She's getting it from her crazy old man and she's getting it from the rest of us.

"How many people here thought, 'Jelena Dokic, what the hell? She's just spoiled.'

"But the poor kid was suffering and I just feel sorry for her. Reading that extract I went ... this is dreadful."

Others relayed their sadness at what Dokic was allegedly forced to endure.


Dokic told The Sunday Telegraph she has tried to mend her relationship with her father after his release in 2010 when he served one year in prison in Serbia for threatening to kill the Australian ambassador.

She says that even now he can excuse his behaviour and refuses to take responsibility for his actions.

Dokic writes in the book the abuse she suffered was "hell" and told News Corp: "It basically started day one of me playing tennis. It continued on from there. It spiralled out of control."

"A mediocre training session, a loss, a bad mood - any of these trigger him to bring out the belt. My losing particularly sends my father into a rage. I rarely lose but when I do the consequence is brutal," Dokic and Halloran write in Unbreakable.

"Then he tells me to take off my shirt. It hurts a lot less when you have your shirt on and that's why he makes me take it off. I stand in my bra, my back to him, and he orders me not to move as he hits me. Often he almost slices my skin with the belt."


Dokic will remain in Australia throughout the summer, returning to Melbourne Park as a television commentator during the Australian Open in January.

Jelena Dokic has revealed all in her new book.
Jelena Dokic has revealed all in her new book.

Topics:  abuse editors picks jelena dokic police

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