An Illawarra woman has avoided time behind bars for slashing her ex-partner's finger with a knife after she suspected he had sexually assaulted their daughter.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, confessed to grabbing the man from behind and brandishing a knife while he was at her home collecting his belongings.
"Do you think I'm gonna let you go, paedophile?" the woman said while holding the 33 centimetre knife to the man's throat.
The man called out to his mother, who was outside with the estranged couple's daughter at the time, before managing to break free from the woman's grasp.
The knife pierced one of the man's fingers as he broke free, causing a deep cut.
Police and paramedics were called, and the woman was placed under arrest.
She immediately admitted to the crime, saying, "I think he cut himself when he broke free from me".
In Wollongong Local Court yesterday, the woman's lawyer, Cathy Doosey, said events preceding the incident provided important context to the woman's actions.
She said on an occasion prior to the assault her client had discovered that her daughter was in hospital being tested for STDs after she'd spent time with her father.
Ms Doosey said doctors had told her client they were "99.9 per cent sure" she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
Further testing a few days later cleared the child of any such disease, however, the court heard the mother still confronted her ex-partner for an explanation, and claimed to have seen "guilt" on his face when the issue was raised.
Ms Doosey said the woman conceded the charge was extremely serious, but asked the court to take into account that her behaviour was "completely reactive to an extreme situation".
"The driving force for her has been an overreaching desire to protect her daughter, who many professionals told her was in danger," Ms Doosey said.
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie chastised the woman for taking matters into her own hands, saying in doing so she had bypassed all the procedures in place to deal with any possible assaults that had may have occurred in relation to her daughter.
However, she agreed to suspend her 12-month prison sentence based on the woman's prior good record, her remorse and her low likelihood of reoffending.