In theory it seems Australia is combatting this abhorrent issue, but the very question of Why is one scarcely asked. Why are people still dying at the hands of the ones they are supposed to trust?
On March 29, 2016 Australia’s first ever Royal Commission into Family Violence reported a long and painful walk in the right direction to preventing and protecting victims, in the state of Victoria.
Seven months later on October 28, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched the Third National Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. It illustrates 36 practical actions across six national priority areas to be undertaken over a three year period. Those primary areas of concern range from ‘Prevention and Early Intervention’ to ‘Keeping Perpetrators Accountable Across all Systems’.
On November 25, 2017 the National Domestic Violence Order (DVO) Scheme commenced. Prior to this law being introduced, a DVO was confined to the state or territory in which it was issued.
On May 31, 2018 the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network released its inaugural Data Report illustrating all the intimate partner homicides that occurred across Australia in a context of domestic violence between 2010 and 2014.
Four months later on September 3, 2018 the NSW Government announced they were reviewing Section 37 of the Crimes Act 1900 after the Death Review Network’s recommendations. Strangulation and its relation to domestic violence and the strong correlation to reported homicides found was highly contentious.
Just two weeks later Victoria’s reproductive treatment laws became subject to a 12 month review. Introduced in 2008, it prohibits any such procedure being provided to a woman who is married unless her husband consents. In a momentous court battle a woman won the right to her own body, despite the law stating that her estranged husband who had subjected her to both physical and psychological abuse, had to allow the operation.
Evidently there is a reason legislature has been scrutinised and law-makers are being called to action. But the frightening reality is one of continuous heartbreak, so where and when do we draw a line in the sand?
Laws, plain and simple, aren’t stopping the violence.
Which begs the question; can it be stopped?
Because right now, the evidence lay in the numbers. And we need to stop allowing people to be reduced to something as menial as a number. A statistic. A systematic failure we only mourn for once it’s too late.