Peter Dutton has disclosed that he likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his past career as a police officer.
Mr Dutton disclosed his experiences to ABC journalist Annabel Crabb in an upcoming episode of Kitchen Cabinet, which will air Tuesday night.
In an interview, the Liberal leader said he remembered an incident where he responded to the crime scene of a young woman who had been raped.
He told Ms Crabb thar he remembered the victim’s name and birth date and could “still picture that scene”.
“It jars and I think it scars as well,” Mr Dutton said.
“I mean people would refer to it, I suppose, more frequently now as sort of a PTSD or just the mental hangover of seeing that repeatedly.”
PTSD is a serious mental health condition that may develop following potentially traumatic experiences.
Symptoms include hyperarousal or hypervigilance, numbing or depression, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance and withdrawal.
It’s estimated about one in 10 of Australia’s emergency service workers, including police, paramedics and firefighters, live with symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
Mr Dutton joined Queensland’s police force as an 18-year-old and served for nearly a decade.
He worked as a young detective on the infamous murder case of 17-month-old Deidre Kennedy, an experience that he said “changed him”.
The Liberal leader said he believed every police officer lived with some form of PTSD.
“I just don’t think you can live that life without it having an impact on you,” he said.
According to the Australian Psychological Society, police officers face a 20 per cent risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress, far beyond the 1-3 per cent experienced by the general population.