Family violence a blight on our society

Published on Mon 24 February 2020 1:39pm

But we can’t put these crimes aside as aberrations, because they’re an extreme form of a behaviour that is widespread. We need to be shocked and galvanised into action by the everyday and everywhere nature of domestic abuse.

Mr Wilson (1:39pm) — It’s terrible to think that, for all women in Australia and elsewhere, the threat of physical and sexual violence is never far away. The most awful events reach out and shock us—as occurred last week. The fact that men whose family relationships ought to be characterised by love and by care at all costs commit acts of senseless rage and cruelty is incomprehensible. But we can’t put these crimes aside as aberrations, because they’re an extreme form of a behaviour that is widespread. We need to be shocked and galvanised into action by the everyday and everywhere nature of domestic abuse.

It should disturb all of us all the time that intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged between 15 and 44 than any other preventable risk factor in this country. On average, one woman is murdered by her partner every week. Across Australia, one in five women will have experienced sexual violence, and one in six women has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner.

For that to change, we can’t leave any stone unturned. We cannot see a reduction in resources for crisis support or community legal services, we must look to expand things like domestic violence leave, and a national summit is a sensible means of focusing attention on this epidemic of harm and on the measures required to make it stop.

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