Domestic violence was once something that happened to women behind closed doors. These days it seems to be occurring with terrifying frequency and in full public view leading us to ask if we’re in the grip of a domestic violence epidemic.
Queensland has been hit hard, with a reported 30 per cent spike in violence against women, culminating in the tragic demise of two women this week.
Anger, frustration and increasing questions around the culprits’ accountability are being raised. Violent perpetrators’ unsatisfactory sentences are often seen as them getting away with murder. Many also escape being brought to justice by cowardly taking their own lives.
News that “Gold Coast McDonald’s shooter” Steven Lock, 57 has passed away from his self-inflicted wounds is but one example of this.
Yesterday he bounded into a McDonald’s restaurant murdering his estranged wife Karina, 47. The terrified mother succumbed to her wounds at the Gold Coast fast-food outlet, screaming, “ He’s going to kill me!”
Karina’s death was preceeded by the murder of 24-year-old Tara Brown on Wednesday night – the day after her former partner Lionel Patea allegedly ran her off the road before beating her with a metal plate.
Patea is currently under guard at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and is expected to be charged with Ms. Brown’s murder when he fronts the Southport Magistrates Court next month.
In response to the horrific attacks in her state, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for a national approach to deal with domestic violence,
“I don’t think it’s good enough now to say we’re going to put money into … an anti-domestic violence national campaign,” she said. “No more talking, we need action out on the ground.”
The Queensland government is hoping the 140 recommendations from a February domestic violence taskforce report, which they’ve said they’ll adopt, will provide some much needed answers to tackling the issue.
With the greatest risk for women coming after they’ve left their tormentors, the Premier has added that more support will be offered to provide domestic violence victims by an increased in funding to DV Connect.
Criticism of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s lack of action has been amplified, as domestic violence helplines and inner city shelters lose funding that is being diverted to regional areas.
The frequency with which women are losing their lives is beyond disturbing. The Counting Dead Women Australia 2015 total is now at 62. Enough is enough. How many more women need to die, leaving their children motherless before this crisis is taken more seriously.