I plonked down on the couch and switched on the footy as my daughter Indi played happily at my feet.
Just then, there was a banging at the front door.
It was two police officers.
"We need to locate this woman urgently," one said, producing a picture of my ex-partner, Lorien.
They'd been to her house but hadn't found her.
We'd split 17 months earlier, after a two-year relationship, and I knew her moods could be erratic, at best.
I wasn't surprised she might've landed herself in some sort of trouble.
"We received a call from her and a very distressed baby was heard in the background," the officer continued.
My heart nearly stopped.
While I was looking after our eldest daughter, Indi, 21 months, our youngest girl, Evie, eight months, was with Lorien.
Was my girl in danger?
My mind started racing.
I'd been trying to arrange a play date for all of us for the past four months, but she'd kept making excuses why it couldn't happen.
The officers couldn't tell me any more.
After they left, the panic started to rise.
I needed to know my daughter was safe.
I called my brother, Kristian, who lived around the corner from Lorien, and ordered him to rush over there.
He phoned back a few minutes later.
"Shane, there's police tape everywhere, I can't get through," he said, panting.
By now I was frantic.
I told him to go back and insist somebody tell him what had happened.
I was convinced Evie must be dead.
Minutes dragged by as I willed the phone to ring.
When it did, I snatched it up.
"They're both alive," Kristian said. "They're inside the house, but something serious is going down."
The relief overwhelmed me, but I knew I had to get over there.
Before I could leave, the phone sounded again.
This time it was a detective.
"I need you to go to the hospital immediately," he told me. "Your daughter has life-threatening injuries we believe were inflicted by her mother."
My stomach dropped.
I found someone to look after Indi and got there as fast as I could.
I burst into the emergency ward and instantly heard Evie's hysterical screams.
It sounded like she was being tortured.
I gasped when I saw her writhing on a hospital bed, surrounded by doctors.
Her face was almost unrecognisable.
It was bruised and swollen, her eyes were bleeding and surrounded by deep, dark rings.
"My poor baby," I cried, rushing to her. "Daddy's here."
A nurse handed her to me and I held her against my chest. She rested her head, but her face was contorted in pain.
She couldn't even have her bottle because her lips were so painful.
Her hands were split open, as though she'd had something ripped out of them.
I tried to calm her, but I was so shaken up myself, I was barely functioning.
A doctor told me Evie had suffered at least eight separate blows to her head, neck and arms, most likely caused by a kitchen utensil and someone's bare hands.
"She'll recover physically, but we won't know the extent of the psychological damage," he said.
I climbed onto her hospital bed and gently rubbed her tummy.
We spent the next week in hospital. When I took her home, she was still very shaken.
She'd cling to me, refusing to leave my side, and was terrified to go to sleep.
I couldn't brush her hair or kiss her on the cheek because she'd scream and start shaking if anything came near her face.
For the next few months, I did everything I could to build her confidence back up.
I blew softly on her face and eventually, she let me kiss her on the cheek.
Then I started twirling her hair.
She'd quiver at first, but over time things improved.
A year after the assault, I discovered that Lorien had already been convicted.
I was astonished no-one had called to let me know.
In court, it had been revealed that she'd called police threatening to throw Evie off a balcony.
Then she hit her with a utensil, possibly a slotted spatula. She never explained why.
Lorien Norman, 26, pleaded guilty to causing harm with intent but claimed she couldn't remember any details because she was drunk.
I was disgusted to hear she was only given a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $500.
She could have killed our daughter yet the so-called justice system let her walk away with barely a slap on the wrist.
How was that fair?
Later that day, my phone beeped with a text message.
I gasped when I realised it was from Lorien.
So, I'm not going to jail. What's your next move? I'll be having part custody within a year.
She ended with a winking emoticon.
Not only had she gotten away with the assault, but now she was laughing about it and rubbing it in my face.
She clearly felt no remorse. It was sickening.
Since Lorien's sentencing, I've began supporting the Brokenshire Bill, which calls for mandatory minimum sentences of two years for domestic violence offenses.
It would also mean that sentences can't be suspended or reduced.
I'll do whatever it takes to keep my daughters – and all defenceless children – safe.
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