“If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention!” is my favorite feminist t-shirt (outside of always thinking outside the box), so I don’t know why I’m so shocked at the domestic violence figures recently released. But I am, because it is shocking.
Approx half of ALL homicides in Australia are women murdered at the hands of near and dear ones. It’s apparently hard to get the figures because not all near and dear are married and sometimes death isn’t immediate and if the perpetrator kills themselves then it doesn’t count… statistically that is.
“Our key concern is that the increased number that we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg and that there are a lot more women dying in domestic violence-related fatalities than what we know about,” said Betty Green, the co-ordinator of the NSW Domestic Violence Coalition.
Despite education campaigns, there were still significant misunderstandings about domestic violence in the community and in key services such as police, leading many to miss clear danger signs women and children were at extreme risk, she warned.
“Women do not die by accident, they don’t die because of a mistake, they die because of a culmination of a repeated pattern of violent behaviour,” she said. “There is no passion, there is no love in a domestic violence fatality. It is really, really important that we name it for what it is – in most cases it is premeditated, it is anger, it is revenge and it is the ultimate act of control.”
from Shameful Secret of Our Family Murder Epidemic, SMH by Ruth Pollard
The NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, first recommended the establishment of a domestic violence review team in 2006, after reviewing police practice in response to domestic violence. Since then dozens more women and children have died, and NSW is no closer to finding out why.
“We can see that looking at … the way families and individuals interact with a range of different government departments and services providers … can give you the benefit, certainly in hindsight, of seeing what you could have done differently,” Mr Barbour said.
“By trying to identify factors that continually crop up where you see fatalities in a domestic situation will help identify risks and allow you to intervene in a relationship earlier, with the obvious benefit of preventing a fatality.”
The review would also help agencies to improve their capacity to respond to potentially fatal situations, he said.
Go Ruth Pollard! 3 SWORD AWARD!
Only this is serious folks. What can we do to prevent women and children dying in NSW? Petition the Hon Verity Firth MP, Minister for Women and chair of The Premier’s Council on Preventing Violence Against Women. Only recently set up and still finding its feet mind!
Finally, celebrate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence! from November 25th to December 10th. I’m totally on board this one! Now, how to celebrate uniquely but … ninjaly.