I am heartbroken. Our community is heartbroken. Another women and her innocent babies have had their lives cruelly taken by the person who was supposed to protect and love them.
There can be no excuse for his behaviour. There can never be an excuse for any form of domestic violence. This act of domestic violence, was murder. Premeditated murder. Premeditated murder in the most horrific fashion.
He was a coward and most certainly not a person deserving of the title of a man. I can only hope that those beautiful babies are safe with their mother in a place that he can no longer harm them.
But will we as a society learn from this awful tragedy, that should not have happened? It seems to me that our society is losing the war on ending domestic violence. If I am not mistaken more women have died in the first 8 weeks of 2020 than in previous years. How is this still happening?
As a lawyer with a practice focused on helping women and children who are being subjected to domestic violence, I see all too often the women themselves not understanding that their relationship is dangerous. I see the fear in those women’s eyes about being judged or not believed. I hear the women saying that other lawyers have told them they don’t have evidence to support their claims, so they should continue sending their children to spend time with the evil monster who does not deserve their children’s love.
I have clients who have made reports to the police about violence or breaches of Protection Orders, but nothing is done. That is not a complaint of the police, but probably more an issue with funding and officers not available to deal with the hundreds of complaints they are no doubt inundated with each week.
So how do we change the ending, how do we start moving towards a future where women and children are safe in their own homes? How do we make men understand that it is simply not OK to hurt someone because you feel insecure or feel as though you are losing control.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe education is key. Education for the community, so that both Aggrieved’s and Respondent’s understand what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Education in our schools to teach children about respectful relationships and who to turn to if they are in fear.
I also believe in education for my profession. We hold one of the keys to ending DV, but not all practitioners understand the importance of working in this area. It is not an easy area. The legislation may only be half the length of some pieces of legislation, but it is not just the Act that it is important to understand. You need to understand the empathy needed to work in this area. You need to understand the danger signs for clients when providing your advice. You need to be able to work collaboratively with other organisations to ensure your client receives a holistic approach to safety planning or education about changing their behaviours.
I want my heart to mend. I want our communities hearts to mend. I want to be a part of the change. I want to make a difference. Together, we can, change the ending.