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Message from the Chair


Dear Members & Colleagues, 

Tough emotional times are still with us. Our sadness reached new depths last week learning of the brutal murder of #HannahClarke and her three children Trey (3), Aaliyah (6) and Laianah(4) on Wednesday 19 February. This was followed, on 20 February by the murder of another woman, as yet unnamed, in Townsville.  We are all affected by this news, and that knowledge that, at Week 10 of 2020, we now have to report that nine women have been killed in Australia as a result of domestic violence. The depth of our feelings must be matched by our resolve to keep the pressure on the Federal and state/territory governments to fund domestic and family violence and sexual assault services at a proper level so that women and children can live free from violence and from the fear of violence. 

In the wake of this news from Brisbane, Patty Kinnersly, CEO of OurWatch reminded us last week that violence against women starts with sexist behaviour. The evidence tells us that gender inequality is a driver of violence against women and creates an environment where violence is more likely to occur,” Ms. Kinnersly said. Gender equality is essential, not just to prevent violence against men, women and children, but to the future of the economy. The economic potential of women can only be unlocked by addressing the challenges of the gender pay gap and parenthood penalties. 

The Women’s Legal Service Queensland is calling for a broad review of the criminal justice system and consideration of a separate criminal offence to punish coercive control, a pattern of abusive, intimidatory and controlling behaviour that has been identified as a “red flag” for murder. In addition, the Queensland Police Union is advocating for a stand-alone criminal offence of “commit domestic violence”, which would back up the current system of civil-based domestic protection orders. 

In the ACT, these crimes in other states need to prompt a review of our Crimes Act 1900, the Family Violence Act 2016, and Personal Violence Act 2016 to ensure that they are fit for purpose to keep ACT women and children safe. 

If you, or someone near to you, has been affected by Domestic and Family Violence, you can call Lifeline on 131411, or contact 1800RESPECT (1300 73 77 32) to talk to someone about your situation. In the ACT you can also call the Domestic Violence Crisis Service 24/7 on 6280 0900, or the Canberra Rape Crisis Service  on 6247 2525. 

If you are in danger call Triple 0 (‘000’). 


Sue Salthouse,