Yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the National Press Club. Predictably his speech contained warnings of ‘Islamic death cult”, terrorism, downed planes and the ongoing need for increased surveillance. Scare & fear politics at its best. There were many important issues missing from his speech. One glaring omission was any mention of domestic violence. All rather odd given less than a week earlier, the courageous Rosie Batty was awarded Australian of the Year for the work she is doing to address domestic violence. Rosie painfully knows the devastating impact of domestic violence and its tragic consequences. Her beloved son, Luke, was beaten to death by his father. Many other mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers across Australia also know and share such pain. Given that Tony Abbott had invited Rosie Batty to participate in a panel to advise COAG on domestic violence matters, it seemed rather odd that a few days later the matter is ignored…
On the same day, in a quiet corner of Gold Coast suburbia, a young, pregnant women died following an attack with a tomahawk. Sadly little is known of her except she is the latest victim of ‘home grown terrorism’ which continues unabated within Australia resulting in 8 women killed in the past 5 weeks. Most people simply call such events “ a domestic’…certainly more palpable to the ears than ‘home grown terrorism’
The recent Queensland election campaign barely mentioned domestic violence prompting me to write Silence on Violence, urging political parties to again put a focus back onto what is happening within our homes and families.
The biggest focus of the election campaign on the Gold Coast was a dire warning that the election of a Labor Government would see the return of the dreaded bikies to our streets. Just in case people may have underestimated how real this threat was, election booths across the Gold Coast and most parts of Queensland were adorned with enormous banners reminding us of the ‘bikie peril’.
The banners were nothing more than cheap opportunistic politics…an enormous amount of money wasted to score a few points against political foes. It is unclear to what extent The Courier Mail was involved in the production of these LNP banners but the fact remains it was a reproduction of a front page of their newspaper from January 3rd.
I have stated many times, that the risk to women of violence and abuse resulting in death, injury, rape, and ongoing mental torment is from men with whom they have an intimate relationship. It is a cold hard fact that we, as an Australian society, struggle with. We need to address men’s violence to women without becoming defensive …#notallmen. We can appreciate that not all men are violent while at the same time acknowledging many men do commit horrendous crimes against their female partners. Australian women face greater threats within their relationships than from any ‘Islamic death cult’
As previously reported in Silence on Violence:
“During 2011-2012, Queensland Police Service responded to 36,856 domestic violence and family violence call-outs, 22,332 applications for protection were made to Queensland Magistrates Courts under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012. (Dept Communities, 2014) There were 58,600 calls to DV Connect the State-wide domestic violence telephone service. (DV Connect Annual Report 2013) “
If there was ever a need for a comprehensive, multi disciplinary domestic violence death review board in Queensland, it is now. Many of these deaths could in all probability have been prevented with enhanced police, court and probation interventions. Urgent action is needed to ensure that more lives aren’t lost and the matter isn’t filed under ‘just another domestic ’
Maybe we need a front page of the Courier Mail highlighting domestic violence which is then reproduced as banners and strung across every school and community hall in the State. So would a mention from the Prime Minister during an important speech to the National Press Club.
I guess that is asking the impossible…
I sincerely hope this piece of yours gets legs Betty. It should be widely read by everyone, particularly those in the media as it is they who ‘frame’ everything that happens and while some mad nutter who thinks he will be some hero in an overseas country by yelling ISIS (not that he even knows who the hell they really are) – gets front page coverage & the deaths of family members due to violence in the homes is MYEH may get vague mention inside the paper, often more of a focus on the inconvenience of having a street closed off while Police investigate – Nothing will happen, nothing will improve and the tragedy will continue. It is a nationwide issue that needs to be addressed now!
Thanks Noely…yes the media often focus on the neighbours comments about how could this happen in our ‘quiet street’ rather than put out the message that domestic violence happens everywhere…it is an occurring on an epidemic scale, the extent to which is still not fully understood by media and law makers. In the meantime women continue to die. Thanks to you for sharing and join in the discussion, we need more people doing this
Betty Taylor, having just read this article,I wonder whether you have considered approaching your local State and Fed MP’s and ex G/G ,Quentin Bryce, who is heading the QLD Dom Violence taskforce.
Thanks Julie…I have been part of the domestic violence sector for a long time and together with other great women, we continue to lobby at all levels for a transparent, independent domestic violence death review to highlight and understand when and how the system fails women. This includes challenging the public discourse that does not see the threats to women in relationships as dangerous as any generalised public threats.