Preventing domestic violence isn’t a wish-list item or election promise. The statistics are frightening, often deadly and as is becoming clearer with research, preventable.
According to the Prime Minister’s office, one-in-three Australian women have experienced physical violence and almost one-in-five have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
In Queensland, there were on average 175 reports of domestic violence a day, with the annual number increasing from 58,000 in 2012 to 64,000 in 2013.
When the Queensland Government created the specialist State Death Review Unit in 2011, it estimated one in four murders in Queensland could be attributed to domestic violence. Queensland’s Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit, comprised of a detective senior sergeant and two researchers, now attributes approximately 40% of all homicides in the state occur within an intimate partner or family relationship.
Tasked with identifying gaps in responding to domestic violence and finding ways to prevent deaths, the Review Unit’s Susan Beattie stresses that what’s most concerning is that “domestic or family homicides can be seen as largely preventable deaths”.
“In most cases there have been repeated incidents of violence and indicators of risk as well as opportunities for intervention before the death.”
Recently as family, friends and community members gathered to remember the second anniversary of the death of Jessica Kupsch, the mother of four was killed by her partner, Jessica’s mother Donna Kupsch message was for people to keep pushing their loved ones to get help.
‘‘If she only listened to me. I spoke to her an hour before, and I told her to come home. She said ‘no, it’s OK Mum, he’s got to know it’s over’, and that was it. If she’d only listened.’’
However, some argue that it’s not victims who have to listen but court rooms and a legal system that doesn’t support victims. Add to the earlier statistics the reported instances of breaches of domestic violence-related court orders and call to action becomes deafening.
While there are many organisations and individuals doing great work in educational services, refuges, community centres and charities around the country, there are no easy solutions. Awareness, education, resources, legal protection and financial resources all play an important role to helping us, as a society, prevent domestic violence by providing an integrated response that includes crisis, transitional and long-terms solutions.
Our inaugural National Domestic Violence Summit will bring together the community, welfare and healthcare groups alongside with the government agencies devoted to combating domestic violence through policy, education and services.
Being held during the 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence against Women, it will showcase the initiatives, research and resourceful partnerships that are helping make a positive change.
To recommend a speaker, organisation or project addressing this preventable crime, please contact Tina Karas.
To donate, click here to support the Summit’s fundraising efforts for White Ribbon Australia.